The Life of Animal Actors

Animals are all around us. From the annoying little ants you find in the pantry, to the massive spider that scares you while it’s chilling in the corner of the room, to the playful little puppy that runs up to you when you walk in the door. Even humans are animals, even though we don’t think of ourselves as them. But for us to make sense of the marvellous creatures that grace our planet, we find humanisms inside them. “Animals are imbued with humanlike intentions, motivations, and goals” (Epley, Waytz & Cacioppo 2007, pg. 864). This concept is called anthropormophism. But this has conjured the idea that animals are able to do what humans can, and can be treated inhumanely in order to do so.

As far back as I can remember, I loved everything about animals. My favourite movie, Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco, was about 2 dogs and a cat that got lost on a family holiday and they had to find their way home. They were given voices and were given human experiences to attract the viewers attention easily. It worked on me, watching it over and over again until even today I can nearly recite the whole movie. But it just shows that by creating an animal with human characteristics, it provokes emotion and further engages the viewers attention.

For some animals, making a movie is not as pleasant and they are treated cruelly. The video below shows the filming of A Dog’s Purpose, where a dog (Hercules) is being forced into rushing water, obviously in distress.

The way Hercules is being treated for the purpose of making a film is despicable. Harming any animal in an attempt to create entertainment for others is a deplorable act. While it is confirmed that the dog is fine, it does not excuse the distress that he was obviously in and the continuous attempts to put him in the water didn’t help the situation either. Any one of the people present could have done something to stop this. The person filming the video stating that “he isn’t going to calm down until he goes in the water” is just mind blowing. This man can’t possibly know what the dog is thinking. Then he continues to say “look he wants to go in”. I have watched this video several times and I fail to see any indication whatsoever that Hercules wants to go in the water. The end of the video shows the same scene, in a different location with a dog actually in the water. While it is hard to see, the dog disappears under the water and people rush to his aid and the director calls cut. The fact that this dog was put in the position where he disappeared under the water is disturbing. The water was obviously too strong for the dog to be able to swim and while I am not a set design expert, I don’t see why the water could not have been shallow enough for the dog to touch the bottom of the pool.

This isn’t just a single occurrence. Animal cruelty while film making is a very important in todays industry due to the amount of media scrutiny. But while the American Humane Society ensures animals are treated kindly on set, there appears to be a real problem with the way animals are treated off set. Animals are often kept in small cages, are punished by their trainers if they don’t perform correctly and living spaces are not kept clean. The trainers who look after these animals should know better, but for some absurd reason, they continue to treat animals cruelly for no benefit at all.

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Trainer whipping the tiger from ‘Life of Pi’ – Source

Animals are a massive part of our lives. They can share your life with and be your best friend, helping hand and constant companion. But the way they are treated by some, places a somber thought among those who love animals so much. The pain they feel is felt by so many others that strive to do something about it. All animals should be able live a life where they are not in fear of what humans might make them do and live a wonderfully happy life. Just like this quokka, who is the happiest animal in the world.

Bibliography

Epley, N, Waytz, A & Cacioppo, JT 2007, ‘On Seeing Human: A Three-Factor Theory of Anthropomorphism’, Psychological Review, vol. 114, no. 4, pp. 864-886

IMDb 1996, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, IMDb, viewed 30 March 2017, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116552/

IMDb 2017, A Dog’s Purpose, IMDb, viewed 30 March 2017, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1753383/

Grenoble, R 2013, ‘Meet The Quokka, The Happiest Animal in the World’, Huffington Post, 8 January, viewed 30 March 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/quokka-happiest-animal-in-world_n_2426133

Highball, S 2013, I’m Still Not Over… Shadow’s almost-death in ‘Homeward Bound’, Entertainment, weblog post, 7 October, viewed 30 March 2017, http://ew.com/article/2013/10/07/im-still-not-over-shadow-homeward-bound-the-incredible-journey/

Newark, I 2017, ”A Dog’s Purpose’ just the latest instance of animal abuse in film’, Daily News Opinion, 21 January, viewed 30 March 2017,http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/dog-purpose-latest-instance-animal-abuse-film-article-1.2952314

TMZ 2017, ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Producers German Shepherd is Fine, Wasn’t Forced to Film, TMZ, viewed 30 March 2017, http://www.tmz.com/2017/01/18/a-dogs-purpose-german-shepherd-is-okay-not-forced-to-film/

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13.3% of ‘the Other’

Poverty and Australia is not an overly discussed topic. When thinking of poverty, Australia is definitely not the first country that comes to mind. But with 13.3% of all Australians living in poverty, maybe it should be considered a more pressing issue. In Australia, those living  on under $400 a week are considering to be living in poverty. According to the Australian Council of Social Service and the Social Policy Research Centre (2015), majority these people receive welfare payments as their only source of income.

Disadvantaged Australians often go unrecognised and may be hard to distinguish from a crowd. But there is a massive gap between those living in poverty and those who have more money than they know what to do with. It appears that the latter have little ability to fully empathise with those who are struggling. Living on welfare payments is not an easy task. My family received welfare payments for my entire life, through no fault of their own. My mother is unable to work and my father died when I was 10, so welfare was the way we survived. While I never understood the struggle when I was younger, since moving out of home and receiving my own welfare payments, I have discovered that it is a fine art budgeting money. Paying for rent, food, fuel for the car and constantly saving money for the next electricity bill have all been expertly mastered to ensure my money is wisely spent. While I consider myself lucky in many aspects of my life, I know there are people worse off than myself.

The video below shows Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie making a speech in the senate in regards to the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill, which aims to stop specific benefits to low-income families. She describes what it is actually like to live off welfare payments and the struggles that people go through.

The 13.3% of people who live below $400 a week in Australia, will sympathise with some, if not all of what Jacqui Lambie says. She makes the point that there are many people who have no idea what it is like to live off welfare payments. Given the position she is in currently, the people around her in the senate most likely would not understand. I have friends today that are fully supported by their parents, but take advantage of their generosity because it is all they have ever known. While I do not consider myself to live in poverty, nor do I constantly worry about how I will feed myself everyday, I know there are people who are far worse off than myself. Which is why there needs to be a better understanding of what it is like to live under these kinds of strains so they can be given more support. There are many Australians who have no real life experience of struggling for money. Some of those people make decisions for the rest of the population and make statements about the lives of the people they represent.  But the simplicity of their words fail to explain the complex challenges people face.  Below is a video of former treasurer, Joe Hockey, giving a speech about housing prices in Sydney, making the task of buying a house sound simple.

“Get a good job, that pays good money”

This is much easier said than done. When I finish university, I hope to get a good job that pays good money, but I am well aware of the fact that only 68.8% of Australian graduates receive a full-time position immediately after graduation. Even when I do receive a job after completing university, my first thought will be my HECs debt, not a house. For people who are unfamiliar with money struggles, they do not come across as sympathetic, understanding or caring. So it doesn’t make a great deal of sense that the people who are deciding how much money people on welfare payments receive, actually don’t have any idea what it is like to receive them.

There is a certain lack of compassion when it comes to people receiving welfare payments in Australia. Without them, I would certainly be in a difficult position. Even a lower payment would be challenging to live with. But in order for the poverty rate in Australia to lower, people who have never been in this situation need to understand the complications that come with living on under $400 a week and the creative ways they survive. There are some wonderful people in this country that live on welfare and with a little help and understanding they would be able to flourish and be a wonderful contribution to the Australian economy.

Bibliography

Australian Council of Social Services 2016, Poverty, Australian Council of Social Services, viewed 26 March 2017

Australian Council of Social Services & Social Policy Research Centre 2016, Poverty in Australia 2016, Australia Council of Social Services and the Social Policy Research Centre, viewed 26 March 2017, http://www.acoss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Poverty-in-Australia-2016.pdf

Butler, J 2017, ‘Watch Jacqui Lambie’s Incredibly Moving Speech About Living on Centrelink’, Huffington Post, 23 March, viewed 26 March, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/03/22/watch-jacqui-lambies-incredibly-moving-speech-about-living-on-c_a_21948323/

Graduate Careers Australia 2015, GradStats Employment and Salary Outcomes or Recent Higher Education Graduates, Graduate Careers Australia, viewed 26 March 2017, http://www.graduatecareers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/GCA_GradStats_2015_FINAL.pdf

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Memory OR Selfie?

It has become more apparent that people are constantly taking selfies. No matter where you are or what you are doing, people NEED to take a selfie. It’s like the validation of being somewhere or doing something is more important than actually being there or doing it! The amount of likes on a Facebook status has become more important than actually experiencing new things for their enriching qualities and learning from them. By only looking at the work through a phone screen and not actually taking in its history and beauty, you miss out on the unique experiences the world has to offer.

Selfies are used to share every aspect of our lives and they are greatly helped by social media sites. But it has reached a point where getting a selfie to document a moment is so much more important than actually living and experiencing the moment. I too am guilty of this. On a recent trip to Europe I was constantly on my phone taking photos of everything, not wanting to ever forget the experiences I was having. But I was always careful to enjoy the moment as well as getting the photo. The photo below was taken on this trip and features a friend I traveled with (he gave permission for this photo to be posted). It clearly shows him looking at his phone to document the fact that he is standing in front of St Peters Basilica rather than taking in religious and cultural importance of the landmark.

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Authors own photo

Millions of selfies are taken everyday, but when more people are dying taking selfies than being killed by sharks, things have gone a bit far. If you are willing to risk your life to take a selfie, then whatever you are doing must be pretty amazing. But it is most definitely not worth putting your life in danger trying to capture it to post on social media. Those likes are most certainly not worth your life.

It has gotten to a point where narcissism is becoming more prevalent in today’s society. 36% of selfies posted to social media are digitally enhanced or altered. With a touch of a few buttons you can brighten and image, get rid of a blemish, hide that stray hair, all the while, completely changing the context of the photo to make yourself or someone else look ‘better’. Psychologists worry that this increasing narcissistic behaviour will lead to Millennials valuing money, fame and status over family, friends and experiences. And they might be on to something. On more than one occasion I have heard of people waiting for “prime Facebook time” to post a photo to ensure they receive the most amount of likes, or deleting a photo if it didn’t get enough likes in a matter of minutes. This just demonstrates the amount of care and consideration that goes into posting on social media.

The video below demonstrates all the above points perfectly. The woman in the video is a famous YouTube blogger and travels the world because of it. But she makes the point that while she is incredibly welcome to fans coming to speak to her, she has become to feel more like an object of validation rather than an actual human being.

She makes the point that sometimes, by taking a selfie at a specific moment, you are missing out on an experience that may well be once in a lifetime. But for some, the recognition you get for that selfie, is way more important than the experience itself.

Selfies are not memories. They only prove you had an experience that is worth documenting for others to see. A memory is so much more valuable than a selfie. When your grandchildren ask what you did when you travelled the world, it would be much more interesting to have stories they can listen to, rather than look at a stack of selfies that have no emotional value. Memories are not shown on paper like a selfie, they are constantly being made and enhance the human experience. But to look up from behind the camera and embrace a moment to make a memory worth remembering is much more fulfilling and life changing than taking one selfie.

Bibliography

Cohen, D 2016, Selfies, Narcissism and Social Media (Infographic), Adweek, viewed 21 March 2017, http://www.adweek.com/digital/rawhide-selfies-infographic/

Firestone, L 2012, Is Social Media to Blame For The Rise In Narcissism, Psychology Today, viewed 21 March 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201211/is-social-media-blame-the-rise-in-narcissism

Malcore, P 2015, Selfie Obsession: The Rise of Social Media Narcissism, Rawhide, viewed 21 March 2017, https://www.rawhide.org/blog/infographics/selfie-obsession-the-rise-of-social-media-narcissism/

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Country vs City: Digital Storytelling Project Reflection

Completing the digital storytelling project has been both insightful and rewarding. While the final idea was hard to reach, once there, the project all meshed together. The initial idea stemmed from my childhood and growing up in the country where media or its lack thereof, seemed completely normal and was just something to get used to. It was decided the show the effects of the digital divide in my hometown of Crookwell, a small town in the Southern Highlands and in my adopted home, Wollongong.  Rooksby, Weckert & Lucas (2014, pg. 197) define to digital divide to be “the fact that members of society have differing levels of access to information and communication technologies and to the benefits they provide”. Since moving to Wollongong, the constant connectivity has sometimes been overwhelming and distracting. I decided to complete the project with the sole focus being on my sister and her journey with the digital divide and the lack of media that is available in the small country town we grew up in and her transition to an urban centre where the media is constantly present. The project was made in the form of a video and was posted to YouTube.

A video was chosen because “we process visuals 60,000 times faster than we can process text. Therefore, video allows us to eliminate visual complexities out of our communication and explain complex ideas to any number of people anywhere” (Shter 2015). Shter also states that videos gain the audience to have more of an emotional connection with the content (2015). Due to the nature of the research project and showing the differences between two places and their media accessibility, an emotional connection creates a more engaging video.

Methodology

Research for this project began with secondary research to discover the extent of the digital divide in Australia. By specifically looking at the digital divide in Australia, it provided relevant information that was specific for this project in order to ensure Kathleen portrayed the correct and continuous struggles that people with disadvantaged media accessibility face compared to those living in urban areas (Park, 2016, pg. 1).

An interview with Kathleen about her media accessibility both in her hometown and in Wollongong introduced ideas that would be shown in the video. The inequalities listed are the video were those that were seen to be the most influential in media consumption.
Due to my background heavily influencing my choice of topic, it was imperative to travel back to my hometown to film the sections of the video that were set there.

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Crookwell from the top of a hill – Authors own photo

Putting the video together was a new experience but proved to be much easier than originally thought. Through iMovie, the different video clips were all put together and a voice over was then recorded, rearranged and added to the final product. Orech states that talking slowly ensures the audience understands the content fully (2007). While recording the voice over, this was a primary concern. After the completion of the video, it was posted to YouTube. This particular platform was chosen because, according to Cowling, 14 million Australians accessed YouTube in January 2016 (2016), which could potentially draw attention to the digital divide in Australia.

Learning and Developing

This digital storytelling project allowed me to explore what I already knew about the disadvantages people face with the media when they live in rural areas and provided an opportunity to apply theory and research to it. Excellent time management was crucial for the video to be completed in the way I had envisioned. Ensuring that all the aspects of the video that needed to be filmed in Crookwell were because it was impossible to refilm them in the correct location.

While the overall project had one big idea, different ideas and ways to display them continually presented themselves. Kathleen provided her opinions which were pivotal in the making of the video. Due to her being the subject of the video her thoughts about how she wanted to be portrayed were always listened to and she was pleased with the video as a whole.

Future Research

The research conducted is useful in highlighting the issues of the digital divide, but also in highlighting to effects of constant media accessibility and how it can be used to harm everyday life.  While this project only touched on the rural aspect of the digital divide, further research could be conducted to see the differences of the effects in more rural locations and what other factors contribute to the inequalities people in rural areas face with the media. Further research could also be conducted about the effects of constantly being connected to the media.

Conclusion

Completing a digital storytelling project on the differences of media accessibility in rural and urban areas has been enlightening and thought-provoking. Making a video was a new process and will prove to be beneficial in future studies. The research as a whole drew attention to an issue that I didn’t think about previously. Even though I was affected by it, it never occurred to me it could be changed. The completion of this project has opened my mind to the issues presented in it and will continue to be of interest in the future.

Thank you to Kathleen for travelling across the countryside with me to complete this project!

References

Broadbent, R & Papadopoulos, T 2011, ‘Bridging the Digital Divide – an Australian Story’, Behaviour & Information Technology, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 4-13

Crowling, D 2016, Social Media Statistics Australia – January 2016, Social Media News, viewed 29 October 2016, http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-january-2016/

Orech, J 2007, Tips for Digital Story Telling, Tech & Learning, viewed 29 October 2016, http://www.techlearning.com/news/0002/tips-for-digital-story-telling/64068

Park, S 2016, ‘Digital inequalities in rural Australia: A double jeopardy of remoteness and social exclusion, Journal of Rural Studies, no. 42, viewed 26 October 2016, http://www.academia.edu/21667688/Digital_inequalities_in_rural_Australia_A_double_jeopardy_of_remoteness_and_social_exclusion

Park, S, Freeman, J, Middleton, C, Allen, M, Eckermann, R & Everson, R 2015, ‘The Multi-Layers of Digital Exclusion in Rural Australia’, in IEEE Computer Science, Grand Hyatt, Kauai, 5-8 January, viewed 26 October 2016, http://www.rdasi.org.au/assets/The-Multi-Layers-of-Digital-Exclusion-in-Rural-Australia.pdf

Rooksby, E, Weckert, J & Lucas, R 2002, ‘The Rural Digital Divide’, Rural Society, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 197-210

Shter, V 2015, Why People Respond to Video More Than Text, imedia, viewed 29 October 2016, http://www.imediaconnection.com/articles/ported-articles/red-dotarticles/2015/oct/why-people-respond-to-video-more-than-text/

 

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Phones Away! It’s Dinner Time!

As media use becomes increasing popular, so does the regulation of media use. Our consumption of media is hindered through the implementation of different rules. For example, quiet carriages on trains allow people to sit in silence and not listen to people talk on the phone or listen to loud music, in the cinema we are asked to refrain from using mobile devices because of the light and sound they create and while flying, flight mode is required for safety reasons.

Some regulations are put in place solely because it is seen as ethically inappropriate for devices to be used. This type of situation might include a family event such as a wedding or a funeral, or visiting a sensitive place such as a church or famous landmark. All the above regulations are in place because of the space mentioned. But other media restrictions occur for the sake of socialisation, such as no phones at the dinner table.

No phones at the dinner table was a regulation in my household growing up.  It was considered an absolute sin if you were using your phone whilst eating dinner because that was considered to be family time and nothing could disrupt it. While I have now moved out of home and this is no longer a rule. It particularly frustrates me when I got out for dinner with friends and everyone is on their phone. We all made the effort to go to dinner and then no one is talking, it seems rather pointless. Mirsa et al conducted an experiment with people having conversations with or without phones present.

They concluded that “if either participant placed a mobile communication device on the table or held it in their hand during the course of a 10-min conversation, the quality of the conversation was rated to be less fulfilling compared with conversations that took place in the absence of mobile device” (2014, pg. 290). The saddening truth is that our conversations are becoming less personal and empathetic because of the presence of media and the devices in which they inhibit.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan suggests that there are different views on using phones at mealtimes depending on the actions taken while using the phone (2016). They found that “texting and answering a phone call are both considered more appropriate than using social media” (ibid). But this had its limits. The study concluded that it was more acceptable for adults to be texting than children, because children are more likely to be communicating with their friends compared to adults who may be having conversations with colleagues or other family members.The report also states that “the mere presence of a child at a meal decrease the perceive appropriateness of adults using their phones” (ibid). Considering the world is now constantly able to access technology, it is important for children to know the value of dinner time conversation that has enriched so many lives and provides many happy memories.

The above photo illustrates the constant need for our phones – Source

Hanson (2014) suggests that times are changing in the way we behave at dinner. She states the 40% of people are uncomfortable when people they are dining with use their phones. She also makes the comparison between pre-eating rituals years ago and today. “50 years ago, a group of diners would have bowed their heads and said grace before eating. Today, the new form of graces come vis taking a picture of whatever delicacy is in front of them” (ibid). This confirms the digital and connected life we all live.

I am extremely grateful for always having the no phones at the dinner table rule. The conversation was never dull, especially visiting Nanna and Grandfather. When my sister and I were little the conversation was all about the trees we climbed that day, and as we have gotten older, the conversation sometimes turns into a heated argument about politics. It is a regulation that I am happy to have grown up with. I remember Nanna looking at me one day and saying “Darling, if you ever go on a date with a man and he’s looking at his phone, get up and leave. He’s not worth your time and he probably won’t even notice your gone”. While at the time I laughed this comment off, but now I think she has a well justified point.

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Nanna wouldn’t approve of him – Source

No phones at the dinner table is one of the best regulations given to the media. While it is by no means enforceable, it enables socialisation and conversation, which are hard to come by in this digital age. This restriction has changed to way I interact with people while eating a meal and I hope its use will continued in the future.

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The Attention Span of A Multitasker

People have either become extremely efficient at multitasking or their attention spans have dropped significantly. With the constant access to media, it is easy to be distracted. There are more interesting things on our devices than in the real world. People are messaging us, tagging us in posts and calling us constantly. But our attention is so divided that it is hard to focus solely on one thing.

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Authors own photo

Procrastination has become a common thing and is always proving to be a hazard you must overcome in order to get anything done. The amount of media and technology around does not make focusing on one task any easier. Even while writing this blog, there are different pages and links all over my screen (above) providing easy ways to stray my attention. The video below is a perfect example of my behaviour while procrastinating. Even while watching this video my attention was on the songs playing and I then went in search of one. Thus, my focus on writing this blog was lost.

Research conducted by Microsoft Canada states that the average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. The report also states that there are 3 attention types, sustained, selective and alternating. Sustained attention enables someone to have prolonged focus, selective attention encompasses avoiding distraction and alternating attention is as the name suggests, efficiently switching between tasks. While the report proposes the increases levels of technology are not necessarily a bad thing, it creates some challenges.

The amount of devices causes people to be distracted from one to the other. So I conducted a little experiment. One evening I observed my sister, Kathleen, watch Have You Been Paying Attention, which is kind of ironic. She was on her laptop, had her phone on her lap and was also watching the TV. While her concentration was on a number of devices, I was watching her to see which devices she paid attention to and when. I did not tell her I would be conducting an experiment on her until after it was completed because if she had known, she may not have acted in the same way. After the experiment was completed, I told her all about it and what her actions were during the hour and she gave her permission to write about it.

Kathleen had a tendency to focus on her laptop majority of the time, but would quickly shoot her attention to the television when a question was asked that she was interested in. Her enthusiasm for the show was enhanced by her screaming the correct answer. After she focused her attention at the television for a few minutes, most of the time she would then look at her phone, occasionally typing a message or scrolling through it for a second. Then would return to her laptop for a few minutes. This would go around in circles, with the occasional switch of order. At one stage during the hour, she received a phone call from our mum. This was extremely interesting because even thought she was having a verbal conversation, she was still interacting with both her laptop and the television. She would still answer the questions asked on the show, and was still typing on her laptop. I have come to know Kathleen as an excellent multitasker, and she did not disappoint. Her attention was always on multiple devices. Even though she was on her laptop or phone she was still listening to the TV. Altogether, her attention was on each device for approximately 2 minutes before she was distracted by another. Kathleen had no idea this was the case until I told her after I had watched her for an hour and become more conscious of her attention shifts afterwards. Her actions exactly mirror the conclusions provided by the research conducted by Microsoft Canada. She has an alternating attention span and is a part of the 79% of people aged between 18 and 24 that use other devices while they watch TV. This is reiterated by a Google Research Report that states, “TV no longer commands our full attention, as it has become one of the most common devices that is used simultaneously with the screens”. The 2013 Nielson Report also corroborates this result.

Technology improves all the time and provides us with more ways to be distracted. Our attention is never just on one thing anymore. There are always devices that are seeking our attention which takes it away from other important tasks. It has become normal to have 3 devices on at the same time and switch between them, but this is the new world we are living in.

Thank you to Kathleen for being my guinea pig and letting me study you while watching TV.

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Media Free Time – Digital Storytelling Research Proposal

The media is used in all different places and by many different age groups. It is everywhere we look and extremely hard to ignore. It is constantly being embraced by many demographics. Businesses are using the media for promotion and to gain more recognition, individuals are using the media to interact and keep in touch with their family and friends. It is hard to imagine life without the media.  There are aspects of it, or references to it everywhere you go. From small television screens at the bowsers at petrol stations, to iPad EFTPOS machines at a shop, to televisions in the food court at the mall, it is hard to escape. The Digital Storytelling Project I intend to undertake will discover whether there are certain places people go to escape the media and why they go there.

 

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TV screen at a petrol bowser – Authors own photo

The video below shows a young man, Paul Miller,  who gave up the internet and texting for a year. He decided that to have more time, he would not use the internet for a year. In such a media driven society, this is an extreme reaction to procrastination and distraction that many people face. In articles written by Miller after his return to the internet, he states “not to say that my life wasn’t different without the internet, just that it wasn’t real life”. This quote signifies the dramatic hole that the media, especially the internet, has on our lives that we may not even notice.

While Miller gave up internet and texting for a year, through a digital storytelling project, I intend on uncovering if people have a place they go where there is minimal media activity. My digital storytelling project will also endeavour to reveal whether this space if they find it refreshing or boring, as the man did in the video did. I wish to discover the stories behind these places and how they came to be found.

The questions I wish to answer are:

  • Is it a public space, or a private space?
  • Are there regulations that enforce no media activity?
  • How does the lack of media make someone feel?
  • Does constant contact with media make someone frustrated?
  • Do people make a conscious effort to go without the media for a certain amount of time of is it a coincidence?
  • Do you think there is a need for media-free spaces?

Courdry et al state that digital storytelling has been transformed and has “popularised the means of producing and exchanging stories afforded by digital media” (2015, pg. 2). As a digital storytelling project, I will voice the stories of media free spaces in one location and provide the different perspectives that are received.

Methodology

To begin research for this project, some background research through secondary sources will be completed to see if there are well-known places people go to be free of the media. After this is concluded, a small number of interviews will be conducted with people of different ages to reveal whether they have different ideas for the need of a media-free space. During these interviews the above questions will be asked. The interviews also provide the ability to go into more detail to unearth how they discovered media-free places, and if they return to it with the intention of being media free. Kajornboon (2005, pg. 2) states that “interviews are a systematic way of talking and listening to people and are a way to collect data from individuals through conversation” I anticipate these interviews will uncover some interesting stories about media free place and they will be the basis of this digital storytelling project. At the conclusion of these interviews, a survey will be made with the intention of it reaching more people than can be interviewed. But given the time restraints for this project, it is hoped approximately 20 responses will be given. Once the surveys have been completed, results will be analysed so that conclusions can be drawn.

Digital platforms that will be used during the project include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and potentially others given the direction of the research. I will endeavour to find media free spaces that people have spoken about on social media and share them in the results and conclusions of this project so that others can spend time without the media.

The conclusions of this digital storytelling project will be made into a video and posted on YouTube. The link to the video will then be posted on Twitter. If there are any further questions about this project or its intentions, please contact me via Twitter.

 

 

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