Digital Project – Media and the Public Space Reflection

Focus:

For my Digital Project, I chose to look into public spaces and how people use technology and social media within them. I wanted to explore the idea of how media affects the connections people make to public spaces, the other people around them and whether introducing technology into a public space have been beneficial.

In order to explore this, I decided to take photos of the public spaces to show how they are being occupied and used and add them to the blog post. I found this to be quite fun and a good way to show people what I was talking about on the blog. My original idea with the photos was to take one before people were in the public space then take another during. I, however, wasn’t able to do this and stuck to taking photos of the public spaces during the time there would be people occupying it.

I thought it would be interesting to look at three different public spaces and do some research into them. I chose to look at the university of Wollongong, the lighthouse and restaurants and food centers. Most of my primary research methods were to watch people in the spaces and take notes on what was happening. In order to flesh out my discussion about the media spaces I chose to talk about topics relating to space, so for example with the lighthouse, I talked about the Pokémon go craze and how this used the lighthouse as a public space. I thought by doing some research into these kinds of topics it would really enhance my observations and also add some good information about how technology is being used in the spaces.

 

Challenges:

I faced a few challenges with this project which included time. I did end up leaving this project a bit late which did end up influencing what I could and couldn’t do. For example, I didn’t realise that when I went to go to university to take photos of the spaces that there wouldn’t be that many people there because the class had finished – total blonde moment. This lead me to looking through previous blog posts for photos as well as finding some online.

Another problem I though I would have been taking photos of people in public spaces. I had to consider the fact that these people wouldn’t want their photos being taken. This influenced me to take photos off people from far away from where you wouldn’t necessarily be able to recognise them or take photos of people from behind for the same reasons. I tried to be ethical and respectful when taking the photos of people and I think I did okay in that department.

 

Presentation:

I chose to present my Digital project on my WordPress blog as I thought it would be easier to use. WordPress is a great place to blog as it is very easy to format your blog posts which make it a whole lot easier for your audience to read. I thought that by using WordPress my content would really benefit from the layout.

 

Usefulness to the Media Industries:

I believe a project like this would benefit media industries as it provides a good insight on how people are consuming media. This would, in turn, allow industries to build themselves around the subject in a way which they would benefit from. I believe this project gives a unique insight which could be very helpful and informative in the ways in which people consume media on a day to day basis in public spaces.

 

Results & Future / what I took away from the Project:

The results of my digital project weren’t very surprising, in fact, I had a suspicion about the way that media is used in public spaces. Overall, watching and observing the behaviours of people in the spaces really opened my eyes to the crazy media usage there is on a daily basis. From these results I have received it has really highlighted that we are constantly on our phones. Whether it be to check up on Facebook or to text someone we are always connected and we don’t have a break. I think from seeing all this that it’s actually quite dangerous. This project has definitely opened my eyes and made me reconsider how much I use my phone during the day when I don’t have to.

 

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Digital Project – Media and the Public Space

For my BCM240 digital project, I have decided to look into public spaces and how technology is used in them. I have decided to take photos of people in public spaces to highlight how these spaces are used and how technology has been introduced into the spaces as well. By doing this I aim to explore the idea of how media affects the connections people make to spaces and also to the other people around them and whether introducing technology to a public space can be beneficial.

Public Space – Wollongong Lighthouse 

 

Wollongong’s breakwater lighthouse is a scenic public space that attracts a lot of people. A lot of the time, there can be a whole lot of people taking photos of the scenery, however, recently it has become the main spot for Pokémon Go players as PokeStops have been placed at the landmark, which I will get to in a bit.

When I arrived at the lighthouse I was very surprised to see quite a few people wondering around in groups or spread out on the grass considering it has started to sprinkle. Whilst there I observed the public space in order to gain some insight on how it is being used by the people. I found that there were quite a lot of people walking around on their phones or using them as cameras to take photos of others and themselves with.

What was interesting to see, however, was the amount of people in small groups laying on the ground/ sitting/ walking around together on their phones. One couple was laying together on a small picnic rug together with their phones out and seemed to be quite entranced in what was happening on it. As well as this a lady was walking around on her phone with a child following along behind, headphones in and totally transfixed on her device.

What was interesting about the lighthouse is how the space is being used. Technology seems to have taken over the space and is being run by it. Over the half hour, I was there watching and taking things in the amount of people attached to their phones was actually astonishing. What was even crazier was to see children on phones in this space as well. It seems that the line of using phones in a public space has blurred quite a lot, especially when taking the lighthouse as an example.

r0_0_3456_5191_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgThe introduction of the game Pokémon Go in the Illawarra has had some great advantages for game players. Because Pokémon Go uses augmented reality that combined real space places like parks and buildings with virtual characters or object which appear on your smartphone a lot of participants have had to walk around to participate. This has then encouraged a whole lot of people to head down to the lighthouse because of the sheer number of PokeStops and Pokémon.

The game Pokémon Go would be both an advantage and disadvantage for people to make connections to the space. An advantage because players are being lead to these places, it could be seen as an advantage because players would be gaining more of an insight of the areas around them, even if it’s to catch Pokémon or reach PokeStops. Or even the idea of this game bringing people with common likes and interests together,the game provides the perfect stimulus to create a bond between people leading to players interacting with each other. A Disadvantage would be that a lot of players would get caught up in the game and forget their surroundings and would lead to them seriously hurting themselves.

 

Public Space – University of Wollongong

University is another world entirely when it comes down to public spaces and technology. Technology is used in basically every situation on the university campus, whether it be in the lectures, tuts or even out on the duck pond.

When going out to study the habits students have when it comes to technology and being connected, it is clear to say that students are fully enveloped in the digital world through their phone and laptop. Many people seem to be using their phones and laptops to information about others or just to plainly avoid interacting with people who are nearby.

Looking around the campus and especially focusing on the McKinnon Lawn there are plenty of examples of people using technology in a public space. Many people on the Lawn were sitting in groups, some had their computers out and seem to be doing work. A majority, however, were on their phones – either sitting down or walking passed whilst staring at a screen. What’s interesting to see is how people are multitasking between their phones and the people they are talking to. Walking around some couples don’t seem to be talking, just transfixed on their phones, whilst some were talking on off with each other whilst also being glued to the phone.

Mobiles can have a negative effect on the connections people make between the space that they are in and also with the people they share it with. Because people use their phones to waste time or to distract themselves for a period of time, it becomes a habit that persists further in their lives and can get worse. The constant of having our phone with us all the time gives users the promise that they won’t be alone, that they won’t get bored, that we can effectively put our attention where it needs to be and most importantly the promise of the ability to multitask. The ability to not have to commit yourself 100% to a situation and have that availability to avoid the terror that there will be a moment in an interaction when you will become bored is the selling point, and the thing people feel that they want most in their interactions.

It could also be said that the constant interaction between a person and their phone in any space can hinder real life interaction with people and their surroundings. Some individuals can find it difficult to remove themselves from their phones of laptops for long enough to re-connect with the people around them and the real world. Addiction to the technology and the constant connection it gives people can be a problem as it could hinder the person’s ability to socialise with people in real life because they aren’t comfortable chatting face-to-face.

Advantages are the obvious need for instant and easy communication with someone despite a distance that could be present. Public spaces become more resilient when this happens, and they open up to the ability for the space to become shared with someone else’s. Also if you’re with a friend in a public space and are talking and need instant information on something you’re talking about, being attached to your phone allows you to become instantly connected to information through the internet.

Constant information is available at a student’s fingertips allowing for a student to instantly look up things that don’t make sense to them or to further enhance their idea on a topic by searching up examples.

On a university level, the constant connection to people in the class can also be seen as a benefit. Interactions through social medias like twitter are encouraged in order to participate with other people in the class. Interactions like this encourage people in the classroom to bounce ideas off each other when certain topics come up and also allow for a more fluid interaction with the lecture itself. The way you choose to use the media that you have constant access to determines whether or not it can be positive or negative in a person’s ability to make connections with other people or the public space.

 

Public Space – Eating Out at Restaurants and Food Centers

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Eating out at restaurants and food centres is another public space which can be run by technology and media. It’s not unheard of these days to be on your phone whilst having a nice meal at a restaurant with a friend or a group of people. Doing this can be considered rude, however, the experience of eating out has become a more social experience inside and outside the digital world and has become a norm is some ways.

I did end up going out and having a look at how people were using their phones and social media at the dinner table, and what was interesting to see was that a whole lot of people actually reach for their phones quite regularly during a dinner or lunch out with friends. A few of the people I was watching picked up the phones only at certain times when there wasn’t any conversation and others were on it quite frequently throughout the experience. What was interesting to see was that when someone picks up the phone it generally gives permission to the other person to do the same thing. When looking around and watching people interact is can be seen that a lot of the time some people don’t look to have a problem when this happens as they just follow suit and copy the other or most of the time just continue eating and look around the public space.

When doing some research on the issue I found a study which concluded 88% of people believe that it’s generally not okay to use a phone during dinners. And to delve further in 82% of respondents found that using a phone during a social setting hurts the conversation, at least occasionally. Because technology makes it a whole lit easier to document every aspect of our lives, including when we go out for dinner, people have started to adopt a food blogging ways, which could be said to have altered the dining experience.

Technology and media at the dinner table can have both positive and negative associations. While the experience of eating out has become more sociable in the digital world thanks to instant technology and the availability of social media, it’s come at an expense of human interaction, where people feel the need to connect to others that exist through social media rather than the people who are real and are sitting around them at present time. Because of the tendency of people to upload everything that they are up to this takes away time from real life conversation and interaction. There has seen to also be a shift in the way conversations are run when technology is involved as conversations are produced in a way to recycle conversation and jokes present on social media.

Again negatively, as food is seen as a time to come together and celebrate for a lot of people, mobiles also inherently become a part of their events. And in turn, the event becomes more a social one – but not a connection made through talking to people face to face, but more people talking and sharing online. In a way, people participating through social media at these events could be considered to be there as they are filled in on what is happening and who said what.

Positively thinking the introduction of technology at restaurants has allowed for a power shift in the dining industry. People who eat at the restaurants have more power as they can instantly use social media or technology to broadcast how their meal is or how good the service was. This leaves the reputation of the industry in the hands of the public consumers, which is great as people have the power in this case to express themselves.

restaurants-online-marketing-1200x801.jpgAs well as this, food blogging has emerged on social media. Food blogging allows for a more altered dining experience, where communities are created based on food and enthusiasts create a more dynamic space and interaction with the food and industry. Food blogging also gives the power back to the people and allows for them to express themselves freely. This gives the food bloggers the ability to use social media as a tool to encourage people to go to or not to go to a particular place for their food. This is seen as a good thing as it allows for the public to be influenced by everyday people and not professional food tasters who may not be relatable in any way to the public.

In this way, its clear to say that social media and technology does, in fact, affect the way that people interact with people and the space that they are in, and the examples explored in this post does support this theory.

Have You Been Paying Attention?

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We all believe that we have great multitasking skills as it’s become very easy to do with access to technology. When we focus on more than two tasks at once the amount of attention and quality of the tasks can diminish. This idea becomes more apparent when talking about using multiple media platforms and different types of technology at one time. A great example of this would be a lecture or tutorial – where people are partially paying attention to the lecturer as they are presenting while surfing Facebook and other media platforms. This kind of multitasking happens frequently within university lectures and tutorials and it’s become quite easy to pick up when it happens.

Overall it can be said that only 5% of us can actually multitask effectively. If you decide to multitask it can, however, come with some negative aspect which can include:

The ability to produce more errors in your work because you aren’t giving your full attention to what you need to do. Mistakes can be made often when doing this and in some cases difficult to pick up after you’ve made them. An example of this would be when writing an assessment, you may be talking to a friend whilst looking a Facebook and also doing research. When your attention is spread so thin it can be difficult to concentrate on the most important thing which would be the assessment. Because of this, you may have grammar issues which lead to you sending in a document which hasn’t been read over properly.

Stress levels can increase as you multitask because you could be overloading your brain with too much information and things to do. This can, in turn, affect your health and even lead to procrastination. A great example of this would be when you leave your assessments to the last-minute but you also have other things you have committed to like work so you won’t be able to work on the assessment for long. This leads to stress and also procrastination as you put things off because thinking about them causes too much stress.

To test these theories out and the process of multitasking I’ve decided to draw out a little experiment on my nine-year-old sister. Now, she doesn’t own a phone or anything but she’s constantly on the computer playing games as well as watching TV and talking to us. You could say that she’s learnt early how to multitask. So within an hour I recorded a number of times she switched between talking to us (and keeping a conversation), watching TV and also playing games on the computer.

So within that hour her main focus was, of course, the computer as it was her main media platform. She looked up to watch the TV at least 20 times and some of them were just a quick glimpse to see what was happening, others were a few good minutes watching. When it came to talking to us it didn’t last very long, she was frequently talking to use until she was distracted by the computer of the TV again. After a while, she didn’t respond to any questions because I think she caught on what I was doing and started ignoring me. I did ask her at the end of my little experiment what the TV show (cartoon) was about and she gave me a vague recount of what was happening, however, she couldn’t give me specific answers when I asked them.

After the experiment was over I told her what I was doing and asked if I could write about it and she gave me her permission. So to refer back to the consequences I wrote about multitasking I have to say that both ‘producing more errors’ and ‘becoming stressed’ where both evident factors. At the start of the experiment, my sister started to make more mistakes when I was talking to her. I would ask her a question and she would respond however sometimes it didn’t come out wrong or she misinterpreted the question. As well as this when she was talking she kept making noises to the computer, which I take as her making mistakes in the game she was playing. This then, in turn, lead to her becoming stressed because she was failing the game and getting frustrated at me because I wouldn’t stop talking to her. As well as this she had very little specific information about the TV show that was on because of the focus being primarily on the computer.

Overall my sister was definitely preoccupied with the different media mediums, and in turn, this did shorten her attention span. Conducting this little experiment has shown that multitasking can be difficult but it also can be done but there are consequences of doing so.


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Ethics and Respect in Photography

Ethics and respect – two words you probably wouldn’t have thought went together when taking photos. These two words are important to consider when going out and catching those candid photos of the people around you.

There is an issue of consent when it comes to taking a photo of someone on the street that you don’t particularly know. If someone doesn’t want their photo to be taken and expresses this idea to you after you have just taken a great shot what would you do? Would you respect their wishes and delete the photos that they are in? Would you show them the photo and explain why you need it? Or would you outright refuse to delete it?

For this week’s blog post I went out to the university to take some photos and had a dig through some photos on my phone to further have a look into the ethics of photography.

 

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Now when taking these photos, I must admit that I felt a big odd. The ones taken out at the university were taken in a way that I tried to get as many people in the shot as possible. When looking further into the legal background of photography involving the general public, the privacy act protects personal information that is held or collection for inclusion in a record. A record is defined to include a photograph or other representations of a person. It’s said that if a person’s identity is apparent in a photograph or other image then the collection use and disclosure of that image is covered by the privacy act. However, the coverage of images is limited by the scope of the Privacy Act – so if the individual is acting in their private capacity, the image is still not covered. If the image was taken by someone acting on behalf of a small business this is also the case.

So when taking the photos at university I was careful not to get too close to people so that you couldn’t really see their faces. As well as this I also tried to take photos of people when their backs were turned and you couldn’t directly see who they were. In doing this I tried to protect the privacy of the people in the photo. I didn’t, however, think it was necessary to ask everybody that was in the shot whether it was okay or not to use the photo because as I said previously you couldn’t really identify them in the shot. If I was to take a portrait of someone or just a casual candid photo where you could tell who they were asking them and being careful in the way that they are presented would be a priority.

 


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A ‘Great’ Cinema Experience

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I’ve been to the movies quite a number of times during my lifetime. The first movie I actually remember watching was the Incredibles that came out in 2004. I remember going to this movie because my pop had taken me, and we had a great laugh at the animations that played before the actual movie (seriously though they were so good). When I was that age, the movies were seen as a big event, and it usually didn’t happen very often because as I know now they are quite expensive.

Fast-forward to today, going to the movies is still seen as a thing people do to socialise (which is actually pretty funny considering you don’t actually talk during the movie and all attention is put to the screen) and it’s quite acceptable to go and see a movie with your friend and family.

However due to the nature of streaming and illegal downloading its become quite simple to download the newly released movie and watch it in the privacy and comfort of your own home. So really, who would pay $30+ for you and a friend to go see a movie when you could just as easily watch it for free?

I recently went to a late night movie session with my dad to see suicide squad. Let me tell you it was an experience. I don’t usually have bad experiences with going to the movies only because I choose later times where there would be fewer people attending (and no children!). However, sometimes you get that one person who can’t help but talk through the whole movie and sing along to the songs – and that’s exactly what happened. Mind you, this person was on a date, and it seemed as if he was trying to impress the poor girl he was with. Trust me, dude, you didn’t impress her – or anyone in that cinema. The problem with going out to the movies is that it can sometimes be a complete luck of the draw. Sometimes you won’t have anyone who thinks that it’s okay to talk or be on their phone during a movie and other times you do. Why would you leave it up to luck when you could watch the same thing at home – where the only annoying person you have to worry about is your parents or sibling (which you’re allowed to yell at to be quiet).

As well as this there are also other constraints that are put on people who attend the movies. Hagerstrand identifies at least three of these, which are still relevant in today’s day and age.

The first one is ‘Capability Constraints’ which is the limitation of human movement during these films. An example of this would include the inability for people to got to the bathroom when they need to during a movie because it can’t be paused or stopped.

The second is ‘Coupling Constraints’ which are restrictions during the allocated time needed to coordinate the interactions with other individuals. An example of this would be the time that the movie would need to be watched. When using my example of going to see suicide squad with my dad, we had to pick a time that would be suitable – E.g. When dads finished work and we have also had dinner – which limits us to the later screenings.

The third would be ‘Authority Constraints’ which include limitations on what activities can or cannot take place, or where they must or must not be located or imposed by external parties. An example of this would be the constraints that are put into place during the movie, like to talking and distracting others which the movie is playing. Other limitations would include the age limit put on the movie – The movie suicide squad had a rating of PG-13 which would restrict me from inviting my sister who is nine or anyone under the age bracket.

The limitations Hagerstrand identified could be the main reasons why people are deciding that going to the cinema isn’t what they want to do. Again, why would you want to go to the movies when you can watch it in the comfort of your own home?

 


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The Networked Home

The introduction of the internet into the everyday family household has changed the way that many of the spaces within the house are used and in turn how technology is used. The overall communication methods within a household have also changed due to the introduction of the internet and other forms of technology. All family members are entwined together through the internet, where they become available to 24/7 availability and also the opportunity to connect to one another outside the house.

Internet access has become a must wherever we are – at home, in a café or even shopping. What’s interesting to look is the responses people give when they are no longer able to access the internet, almost like they have cut off a limb. For example, the other day I forgot to bring my phone with me, and yes this may seem petty but I felt isolated and also vulnerable. The connection people make with others using the internet is important this day and age even if the connection itself is through a phone.

Not only are we using the internet to connect to one another, but we are also using it to change the way that we take in traditional forms of media.  For example, about 2.7 million Australians are estimated to watch Netflix and other services over traditional broadcast free to air television which doesn’t require the internet connection. This definitely shows that many people are now looking to the internet for their daily dose of TV show binge watching, whether it be on the couch in front of the TV, in your room through a computer or on the phone. Especially 13 – 24-year-olds who’s digital entertainment is habits are mainly sites like Netflix and YouTube.

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Our growing use of the internet also leads down the path of an increased use of data being used. The rollout of the Australian national broadband has factored in the growth in downloads – however, the quality and speed of the connections obviously differ depending on where your living and the quality of the wires and their connection. However, the NBN is only being introduced to a minority of places in Australia  so you have to be somewhat lucky to get it and even then it takes a ridiculous amount of times to actually connect to it and in turn use it.

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TV Memories

When looking at the television in this day and age, it becomes quite clear that it has become the centrepiece of the living room. What I would like to explore is the introduction of the television and the effects that it had on my two family members, My Nan and Dad. When speaking with my Nan and Dad there was an obvious difference when it came togiphy.gif their experiences with the television when they were children. As well as this, the experiences of both my Nan and Dad would be very different to the experiences my sister and I would have had.

My Nan was around to see the first coloured television introduced, and in those days it was very rare for people to own their own – both black and white as well as coloured. The television was introduced to my Nan through my Aunty, and one thing that was mentioned was the fact that the old TV’s were big and bulky, and in my Nan’s words she referred to them as a ‘big bulky box’. The television itself had no remote controls and was tuned through a dial on the front of the box.

A fond memory she had before the coloured television was introduced was putting sheets rental_color_television_ni_09011978-600x442.jpgof cellophane over the screen to make the black and white TV colourful. So as you could imagine, the introduction to the coloured television would have been quite exciting. When the coloured TV was introduced, as you can imagine it was expensive, which lead to companies such as radio rentals renting them out. My Nan had a rented coloured TV, but when she didn’t she said that she liked to got to the houses of her neighbours who did and watch it through their windows.

TV shows that were usually shown at this time included more family related shows that included a moral and had limited violence and killing. As the television was introduced my Nan said that most of the time she was glued to the TV, but it often had a show cut off time at night where nothing played.

Typically, the environment around the TV for my Nan was both formal and informal. Some nights her sisters and herself would sit around the TV. The television quickly became the centre piece for the house, where all the lounges faced towards it, and you were lucky enough to have one in your house.

In comparison, my Dad wasn’t there when the first colour TV was introduced, however he did grow up with it. The Television was like my Nan described it, a big box with no remote and dials that had to be manually turned in order to move stations. The television was expensive so kids weren’t allowed to touch it or put anything on top of it in case it broke.

fokk005reke01ill72The television was also expensive when my Dad was a kid, which meant that the only TV that was in the house was in the lounge room as you were lucky to even have one. This lead to the television being mainly used by both parents, but particularly Dad’s mum who was home more with the kids.

The environment was the same as what my Nan mentioned, the lounge room was used as both a formal and informal space. Only on special occasions would you find Dads family sitting around the television and eating dinner. Lounges were facing the television, as it became the centre of the room, but bean bags were also used which gave the space a more informal feel.

The television was mostly run by my Dad’s mother, who would be in charge of how it was used during the day. This was until Dad’s father came home, where there would be a shift in who is primarily using the television. However, what was interesting is that my Dad mentioned that both his parents would sit around the television and watch the same thing that his sisters and himself were watching when there was nothing else on.

The experiences of both my Nan and Dad both differ and relate to my experiences with the television. At home the television is the main appliance in the lounge room, and its outlined by all the lounges. There is also more than one TV available around my house that allows for family members to watch their own thing in a different room if they don’t wantgiphy-1.gif to watch what is being watched in the main room, which is very different to the experiences of my Nan and Dad.

The space around the television is also quite different, it’s rare to see my family all sitting around the television whilst eating dinner. Dinner is always eaten at the dinner table, and we all sit around it with the television going on in the background. However, my sister and I aren’t allowed to watch it as both our backs are facing it, and its mostly looked at by my parents.

The way in which we use the television has changed over time as it was welcomed into the private home environment. The way my sister and I watch television is also very different to my parents and even my Nan’s and Pop’s. I use Netflix and my sister uses the internet to watch what we want, and we often use these items instead of watching the television in the lounge room with our parents.