Archive for April, 2010

Week Six – Mobility

April 28, 2010

Volker, Clara. “Mobile Media and Space.” In Goggin, Gerard and Larissa Hjorth, Eds. Mobile Media 2007. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2007, 135-142.

 Ito, Mizuko. “Mobile Phones, Japanese Youth, and the Replacement of Social Contact.” In Ling, Rich and Pederson, Per, Eds. Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere. London: Springer – Verlag, 2005, 131-148.

 According to Volker ‘Space’ can no longer be merely divided into the digital and physical as new technologies, such as the mobile phone or ipod, often bridge the two realms. Semapedia is one example of the way in which technology can provide interaction between the virtual and physical worlds. The project allows users to create “cellphone-readable physical hyperlinks” (or barcodes) placed at a physical location which provide access to information on a Wikipedia page. According to the Semapedia website, “Our goal is to connect the virtual and physical world by bringing the right information from the internet to the relevant place in physical space”. Socialight is the second example Volker employs to demonstrate how “…virtual connections between subjects and other subjects or objects are being mapped, transferred into digital virtuality, and reintroduced as virtual spaces into physical reality”. Socialight allows users to create digital messages or ‘Sticky Shadows’ which can be attached to a physical object. Other users are then able to track down and receive the comments/messages attached to this object.

 Both of these examples reminded me of a performance piece by Blast Theory called ‘Can You See Me Now?’ (2001) which also aims to bridge the boundaries between the physical and virtual world.

 Can You See Me Now? is a game that happens simultaneously online and on the streets. Players from anywhere in the world can play online in a virtual city against members of Blast Theory. Tracked by satellites, Blast Theory’s runners appear online next to your player on a map of the city. On the streets, handheld computers showing the positions of online players guide the runners in tracking you down.

With up to 20 people playing online at a time, players can exchange tactics and send messages to Blast Theory. An audio stream from Blast Theory’s walkie talkies allowed you to eavesdrop on your pursuers: getting lost, cold and out of breath on the streets of the city.

Can You See Me Now? draws upon the near ubiquity of handheld electronic devices in many developed countries…As the previously discrete zones of private and public space (the home, the office etc.) have become blurred, it has become commonplace to hear intimate conversations on the bus, in the park, in the workplace. And these conversations are altered by the audience that accompanies them: we are conscious of being overheard and our private conversations become three way: the speaker, the listener and the inadvertent audience.

Can You See Me Now? takes the fabric of the city and makes our location within it central to the game play. The piece uses the overlay of a real city and a virtual city to explore ideas of absence and presence. By sharing the same ‘space’, the players online and runners on the street enter into a relationship that is adversarial, playful and, ultimately, filled with pathos.

With the advent of virtual spaces and, more recently, hybrid spaces in which virtual and real worlds are overlapping, the emotional tenor of these worlds has become an important question. In what ways can we talk about intimacy in the electronic realm?

 http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_cysmn.html

 Semapedia, Socialight and even the game ‘Can You See Me Now?’ each demonstrate ways in which virtual space has become “…increasingly embedded into real space. Due to their wirelessness and transportability, digital informational spaces are no longer restricted to fixed places and cable networks…” At the same time, I agree with Volker’s suggestion that new digital media “…do not threaten ‘reality’…they augment real space and thus cause displacements in the conception of space developed under the influence of cabled digital media”.

 I found Ito’s study on mobile phone usage by Japanese youth provided a fascinating insight into Japanese culture as well as a clear example of how a mobile phone technology has been domesticated by a specific social group. Ito discusses how power relations of different kinds of space are enabled by mobile communication. Furthermore, she argues that although the mobile phone “can indeed enable communication that crosses prior social boundaries…this does not necessarily mean that the device erodes the integrity of existing places or social identities”. Instead, the mobile fulfils a social need. It is expensive to have a home phone in Japan and small houses make socialising amongst groups of young people virtually impossible. The mobile phone, therefore, can be seen as a “way of overcoming the spatial boundaries of the home, for teens to talk with each other late at night and to shut out their parents and siblings”. In addition, mobile phone usage does not “challenge or reshape the power geometries of the home”. Instead, Ito suggests that it has become a “…tool for circumventing the normative structures of the home with minimal disruption to its internal logic”. I found this article, really useful when considering notions of space and the ways in which an individual might incorporate a specific technology into their daily routine.

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Week Seven – Convergence

April 27, 2010

Nightengale, Virginia. “New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence”. In Nightengale, Virginia and Tim Dwyer, Eds. New Media Worlds: Challenges for Convergence. Couth Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press, 2007, 19-36.

 Jenkins, Henry. “Buying into American Idol: How We are being Sold on Reality Television”. In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, NYU Press, 2006, 59-92.

 Nightengale’s article, “New Media Worlds? Challenges for Convergence”, quotes Jenkins’ definition of Convergence as “a situation in which multiple media systems coexist and where media content flows fluidly across them. Convergence is understood here as an ongoing process or series of intersections between media systems not a fixed relationship”. Nightengale suggests that many media industries, such as television, face a combination of ‘disintermediation’ and ‘deconstruction’ because of their slow responses to the challenges of ‘internetisation’. Nevertheless, linking their offline activities to online ‘enhancements’ is one way in which television has utilized the convergence process to meet these challenges.

I found Jenkins’ example of the reality television series, American Idol to be a particularly interesting example of the issues of convergence. Firstly, the show clearly uses ‘enhancements’ through the building of online communities in internet forums as a way of increasing the popularity of the show. The structure of the program itself is designed to turn casual viewers (“zappers”) into dedicated viewers (“loyals”). ‘Cliff hangers’ are used in each episode and the show itself is a “snowballing phenomenon” with contestants eliminated each week until the show reaches a dramatic climax with the ‘final verdict’ revealed in the Grand Final. Audience participation is another important element of convergence, with weekly voting via mobile phone SMS or ‘phone-in’. This helps to create “love markets” which build strong audience allegiances to individual performers and establishes a fan base for contestants’ ‘post-idol’ careers’. This, in turn, is designed to translate into strong music sales.    

Jenkins suggests that in order to understand American Idol’s success we need to understand the notion of “Affective economics”. Affective economics has both positive and negative implications in that it allows “advertisers to tap the power of collective intelligence and direct it towards their own ends but at the same time allowing consumers to form their own kind of collective bargaining structure that they can use to challenge corporate decisions”. In the case of American Idol, as Heyer discusses, the various entertainment media are brought together creating multiple contacts between brand and consumer through advertising. In many respects, this could be seen as one way in which television has used convergence as a way of expanding its ‘richness’ and ‘reach’.

Week 7: Convergence

April 26, 2010

Convergence

Jenkins, Henry. “Buying into American Idol: How We are being Sold on Reality Television”. In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York, NYU Press, 2006, 59-92.

This week’s reading focus that on media convergence, particularly that of American Idol. It says argues that media has more power when it spans across many mediums. American Idol utilises, television, advertising through the coca-cola brand, use of home phones to vote and well as texting, music singles and albums, concerts and even movies. This article also discusses how we choose what we want to watch these days, with the power of the remote advertising has to be particularly effective, interesting and persuasive to work (Jenkins 2006.p, 64). Questions it raises for me are: Is this that way media will be used in the future? Is single use Media on the way out?

Tut 7 posting Convergence

April 24, 2010

Before go into this weeks’ topic: Convengence, I would like to share a video about how media can be use to put private opinion into public:

There is English Subtitle and English is avaliable at time 1:30.

Convergence appear when we move from analog to digital, mechanic to electronic.

For example, we can view photos, edit or even send to internet on a digital camera. A decade ago, ‘film’ was still the main photographic  medium.

Camera was from the word ‘camera obscura’, means ‘black box’.

In the 60s, exposure meter, which determine the correct amount of light, is build in cameras.

In 70s, auto exposure is widely seen in camera, which the camera make the decision for the shutter and aperture for a suitable exposure .

In the late 80s, auto focus because possible.

In the 90s, the combination of all technology above merge into one body.

Year 2000 onwards, the photographic medium shift from analog to digital.

All the retouching  process now is replace by computer software, like ‘Photoshop’.

Apple Inc’s main concept may conside to be ‘convergence’.

The famous ‘iMac’, merge the screen, CD-driver and hardware together.

The iPod wheel controller, fuse all control on one wheel and the central button.

iPod Touch and iPad, use touch screen to nevigate.iPod Touch is portable music player, as well as pocket computer. This terminates Sony WalkMan to popular in  portable music player,

Convergence  makes media cross platform, like Apple Inc. introduce iTune to sell music.

In publish industry, print media, like Monocle, launch online audio and video service in order to attract more readers.

Week 6 Posting

April 21, 2010

Here is Ito’s core arguments:

This chapter argues that the mobile phone can indeed enable communication that crosses prior social boundaries, but this does not necessarily mean that the devices erode the integrity of existing places or social identities,

This charter argues that characteristics of mobile phones and mobile communication are not inherent in the device, but are determined by social and cultural context and power relations.

Mobile phone can be used as a creative tool.

First is ‘mobile novel’, which origin from Japan. The majority of users are train passengers who spend an hour two to travel to work. Commuters type the novel using mobile and send their work via text message to particular site to publish their work. Subscriber can read the novel through mobile. Novels were considered as hard to write but this proved that everyone can, unless you don’t open your creativity. However, in Australia, while many still drive to work, they no long have the commute time to write.

Besides, mobile phone can be transform to a photography tool. The book, the best camera is the one you have is photo by an IPhone. Althought digital camera can be fit into your pocket, it is not as handy as the phone. Because mobile phone almost become a part of our body. Besides of convenience, mobile phone camera has another advantage: it is not as aggrieve than any camera. Usually, mobile phone cameras do not have the lens zoom out, and no annoying shutter noise. Distraction can be lowered. More, mobile phone cameras do not contain any complex control, same as Kodak’s slogan, ‘you push the button and we do the rest’. This helps photographers to concentrate on composition.

Mobility

April 20, 2010

The main concept in Volker’s reading “mobile media space” is associated with the embedding of virtual spaces in to physical spaces. I found the core discussion regarding this concept to be based around these types of spaces and the perceived potential threats to reality associated with media technologies and the creation of virtual space.

Volker uses the examples of social mobile software such as Semapedia and Socialight to provide examples of ways in which the virtual world is connected with the physical world. As she notes. “Semapedia’s barcodes intermediate as simultaneously physical and virtual places between real and digital virtual spaces” (Volker 2007, p. 135). It is interesting to note the immediacy associated with obtaining information offered by these social mobile softwares and the introduction of mobile phones and the internet. This is particularly important considering societies current time demand pressures where there is a general concept that everything needs to be achieved ‘yesterday’.

I found the concept of Socialite and Sticky Shadow to be similar to that recently introduced where drivers, through their mobile phones can access information regarding the location of mobile speed cameras, RBTs and red light cameras. Updates to the link are posted by drivers who pass these sites and available to all those who wish to access it. While this concept is not quite as detailed and extensive as Socialite, it provides an example of the linkages between virtual spaces and physical coordinates.     

The author notes the historical background associated with the emergence of digital media technology, virtual spaces and reality, and it is interesting to note the changing, and in some instances unchanging behaviours and attitudes linked to the integration of digital space and the relationship between virtuality and reality.  Volker captures the attitude of Baudrillard who labelled electronic media technologies as those which create “an indistinguishable copy of ‘reality’” (p.136).

It was interesting to note the similar historic perspectives associated with digital media technology and its perceived inability to allow human interaction and the creation of space. Auge (1995) justifies this perspective by noting that spaces created by mobile technologies as “not configured by inscriptions of history, relation and identity”…rather they are “non-places” (Volker 2007, p. 138).  Similarly, Morse notes this technology and the creation of non spaces as that which causes one to become “disengaged from the paramount orientation to reality” (Volker 2007, p. 138). While I can understand the perspectives taken by these authors, I believe that applications such as Semapedia and Socialite have offered an alternative way of completing certain tasks, which happen to portray aspects of convenience, instantaneity and mobility. Volker also argues against these historical views, suggesting that digitally generated spaces do not threaten reality but are rather “information places and as such entirely real” (Volker 2007, p. 140).

Supporting Volker’s argument, Ito in the writing ‘Mobile Phones, Japanese Youth, and the Replacement of the Social Contact’ suggests that mobile technology, in particular the mobile phone do not “erode the integrity of existing places or social attitudes” (Ito 2005, p.131). The author makes an interesting point that usage and characteristics associated with these mobile devices are not determined by the device, but rather the “social and cultural context and power relations” (Ito 2005, p. 131). I believe this is a valid point, and in many instances, the impact and effects of media technologies, mobility and virtual spaces is very much dependent on the individual who chooses to adopt its use and to what extent. Further, in drawing conclusions from her study, Ito suggests that the mobile phone is “not inherently a device that disrupts existing social norms and places” (Ito 2005, p. 146), a theory unlike that suggested by authors such as Auge and Morse.

I found it interesting to note the final concept offered by Volker in her reading where she suggests that mobility does not have to mean a change of real physical space, but can rather mean changing virtual space while remaining at the same real place. Providing this opportunity for people to connect to environments virtually is important considering the increasing time limitations and pressures associated with today’s society.

Week 6: Mobility

April 20, 2010

This week’s reading: Ito, Mizuko. “Mobile Phones, Japanese Youth, and the Replacement of Social Contact.” In Ling, Rich and Pederson, Per Eds. Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere. London: Springer – Verlag, 2005, 131-148

Media is now more transportable than ever before this reading focuses on the mobile phone use of Japanese youth and how their social contact has been transformed by the new technology. This reading concentrates on the mobile phone use in the ‘home, at school in urban spaces and in virtual spaces’ (Mizuko 2005).  I think this readings core argument is that mobile media has different functions in different spaces, and different spaces change the way media is used.

The readings key concepts are media changes when moving to different geographical spaces. Media use in the home feels limited to youths as there is not enough space to invite friends over, and have them over less than once a year in many cases, they usually have one home phone so choose to use mobiles for privacy if speaking with the opposite sex (Mizuko 2005). At school text and email was utilised to communicate with other students and in urban spaces email and calls where used (Mizuko 2005).  Email was able to be used while travelling on the bus and train (Mizuko 2005). The terms the author uses to develop this argument are what ‘context’ the media is utilised.

Questions it raises for me are: Are we seeing the same patterns in Australia?

I would argue that it is not so far from what we see in this country; however our home phones may be used more as well as home PC’s.

Week 5: Lindlof, T. & Taylor, B. “Design I: Planning”

April 13, 2010

This article explores the key issues with qualitative research, from an anthropological perspective using ethnography as the prime example. The main argument here is that qualitative research requires a broader scope of planning to create contingencies for issues you are not aware of yet. This is why the article outlines many different methodologies, has a list of relevant journals etc. This argument stems from the premise that qualitative research is an evolving framework of questions and tools.

The End.

-House.

EDIT: I changed my mind, I no longer think that “qualitative research is an evolving framework of questions and tools” is the premise but rather, part of the conclusion. I think that the authors are trying to prove that this is the case but highlighting the differences between qualitative and quantitative analysis from and ethnographers perspective. I think ultimately the moral of this story is about the importance of good planning, by developing a sound framework from which to conduct a study, it is possible that it will be able to withstand the nature for change  that the authors attribute to qualitative research. Even if your framework does change as long as the research remains in the field, site, and scene (as defined by the authors) ultimately you should be able to answer the question(s) you intend to.

The Edited End

-House

Week 5: Researching Media in Everyday Life

April 12, 2010

Corti, L. “Using Diaries in Social Research.” Available at http://sru.soc,surrey.ac.uk/sru2.html

This week’s readings focus on the use of diaries as a research tool. The reading explains there are many strengths and advantages for using a diary. Many of us are familiar with having kept a diary at some point in our lives to record our thoughts, but using diaries as an effective researching tool was a new idea to me. As shown by this, diaries are fantastic for ‘telling history’ s they capture our ‘behaviour’ and  daily ‘events’.

A diary can be used as a ‘supplement’ to complement interviews and have been very useful in the assignment I am currently working on.  The diary can be formatted in a free way or ‘fairly structured’. This reading specifies that there are some main areas which they have been used for research: ‘To record how people spend their time, consumer expenditure and transport planning research’.

Diaries as seen in the readings are a fantastic survey tool. Structured diaries follow a formula which enables consistency which can be great for keeping research in an organised format, utilising a type of style guide and certain specifications such as controlling length, size, content and format. The article stated that diaries are not always effective and can have problems including if someone forgets the event which happen during the day and simply make them up which can cause inaccuracies. Diaries are considered to be ‘more expensive that personal interviews’.

Questions this article raises to me are: What other ways can we document media use? And are structured diaries more useful than free form types?

Sarah

Week 5: Media research, ‘Media & Everyday Life’

April 12, 2010

Week 5 ‘s readings are Qualitative Communication Research, by Lindlof and Taylor; and Using Diary in Social Research, by Corti. (available @ http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru2.html)

First, I would take about the Qualitative Communication Research. It mentions qualitative research is inductive. This means planning to discover the issue. Moreover, Lindlof and Taylor explain qualitative researchers need to be discipline and inquisitive. Being discipline means the researcher know ‘do the right things at the right time’. Being inquisitive refers to the ability to explore the relevant and unique data to interpret

Finally, the reading stresses the importance of the research proposal. The proposal acts as a guideline which can be following and serves as a platform to review.

The second reading is about using diary to record data. The author argues that the advantage of using diary to collect data, instead of interview, is that diary can be write down anywhere, anytime, to prevent ‘events that are easily forgotten’.

I have been writing diary for eight years. And I notice that free format diary is really hard to follow. But a too formatted diary will leading data lost since not all criteria cannot be predicted. Therefore, put the main research criteria in the diary and let the research participant to record. Although the participant may be reluctant to write the truth, after conquer the ‘first day effect’, and the detail explanation by the researcher, the diary can be fill in and collect data to be interpret.