Blog Review: Everything so far.

WordPress has been an essential part of my university experience, since week one I’ve had to keep numerous blogs for different subjects, primarily for communications and media. Combining three separate BCM subjects into one blog allowed me to develop a written personality, which I’ve tried to keep consistent throughout the duration of my blogging experience.

Blogging allows me to complete these tasks on a more personal level, and although the content is taken seriously and marked according to strict criteria the page is essentially my own, so showcasing that and ensuring that the design was specific to myself was a very important priority.

The overall design of the blog was chosen for its simplicity, yet also its customizable properties. This was in order to maintain a level of professionalism while ensuring that it also represented myself, and showed character. Diplomacy (2014) states in their document Blogging best practices that a personal touch is a key attribute in the engagement of your audience, that blogs “Live, breathe and die” on this involvement and is detrimental to developing a voice. The most important thing to me was that my readers understood that I am a person, people connect with other people and the more individuality I illustrate, the more they can relate to what I am saying. The about me section is honest, I haven’t tried to be professional and I haven’t tried to be serious, it contains what I consider to be the most important information about myself, who I am, what I do and what I’m here for.

In the side panel the first feature is my recent posts, this allows up to five previews of what I have previously posted, which in doing so saves time scrolling or sifting through the other pages, the archive and category features also promote this, although both very differently. Archiving achieves access according to date and category is specific to which subject; by allowing more options to the reader I’m essentially making my blog easier to navigate. Implementing other social networking sites was one of the first things I did when I first created the page, this allowed wider and easier access to my content and in addition, ensured that it was distributed and shared among a variety of people throughout different platforms. This also allows easier criticism and engagement from other BCM students and of course, the people marking it. Using a category system, I am able to label each of my posts separately and accordingly, this permits the reader a much more accessible way of finding what they’re looking for via the use of tagging, and is also quite important when you’re using one blog for multiple subjects. The text is large so also clear and quite easy to read, and for my font I chose one simple and well spaced in default black, complimented by the blue of the links. This decision was made to contrast the important information (such as the date, the category and the hyperlinks) on purpose, and also tributes to the colour of my background and the site title (which consequently is my last name).

This subject challenged me especially as a writer, as previously everything I had written had been focused around social media as a whole, or the issues relevant to those mediums. In this subject however, the focus was more on people and their relationships to specific media, an idea in which I was foreign to and found difficult to relate to in my posts. I feel like this had a profound effect on my work, and didn’t keep up to the same standard as my prior blog posts.
I additionally strongly feel like this difference affected the flow particularly, as previously my blog seemed to have developed a theme, and as my confidence in what I was writing about faltered my posts seemed to as well.

To me a good blog is one that you can engage in with the confidence of knowing what’s coming next. You come to expect a certain standard of work and whether it is something good or something disappointing, getting the feel of a person or how they write is important to develop a relationship. I think in the beginning I managed to successfully do that, but gradually started to lose my voice with my confidence, my research wasn’t as clear as it usually was and the use of relevant links declined noticeably and I believe that shows. Additionally, I’m aware of that what may have held me back was not completely related to my understanding or ability to complete these tasks, but more as a side-effect of personal issues that caused a sense of detachment within my writing.

Overall, I have always enjoyed the freedom that blogging allows and love the way that it enables you to implement yourself into what you do. One of the most useful advantages is being able to get to know the people you’re engaging with more intimately, and the use of feedback via the commenting system promotes healthy criticism and a more actively engaging environment. Although not entirely happy with every aspect of my blog, I do believe it succeeds in representing me and in the future hope to perfect the consistency of my work.
 

 
References
Diplomacy.edu 2014, Blogging best practices, p.1, Diplomacy.edu, viewed 20 September 2014, <http://www.diplomacy.edu/sites/default/files/Blogging%20best%20practices.pdf&gt;

 

The Australian Film Industry

Mason is convinced the West Australian’s Cannes-feted feature film debut would have grossed more at the box office had it been made in the US” (Roach, 2014)

To me this comment sums up pretty perfectly why Australian film makers are struggling to entice the Australian public to connect to our films, because they aren’t American.
When we think of western civilisation, the first country we think of is America, when we think of presidents we think of American presidents like Obama, American culture is more prevalent in our society than our own and we seem to prefer it, and their actors.

Screen Australia reported that in 2013, Australian films took just 3.5 per cent of box office takings in the country, this is lower than the previous year which still only took in 4.3 per cent. Jim Schembri (2011) from the Sydney Morning Herald stated that the public perception that Australian films are automatically bad has been around since the 1980s, and that stereotype although slowly diminishing is still affecting the Australian Film Industry dramatically. Perhaps one reason why the public don’t connect to Australian films is because a vast majority have been released according to a government standard of approval via the co-production treaty that Screen Australia has with the government. This treaty states specific qualifications for production such as significant Australian content and only feature films produced for exhibition to the public in cinemas. Of course there are many American films that also feature culture specific content, but many of these aren’t exactly always based on fact but on satire or combined with fiction.

The only solution I can think of to boost our reputation is a much better marketing strategy, and of course a pool of more talented writers and producers. Our film makers seem to be targeting the wrong audiences and have absolutely no idea what teenagers, children or the elderly are even interested in. A lack of creativity is evident, and in order to broaden our vision we need to take a leaf out of a successful book, which in this case it would be to invest in the kinds of ideas that American film makers are profiting off. Promote surveys, welcome feedback, do your research properly and take the time to listen and take notice to what your audience is saying and looking for.

I for one am not going to spend my weekend paying to watch another Australian film about the ‘Aussie outback’ and our love of crocodiles and kangaroos.

References

Roach, V 2014, Local audiences snub Australian filmmakers yet Hollywood loves them, http://www.news.com.au/, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/local-audiences-snub-australian-filmmakers-yet-hollywood-loves-them/story-fnk853hr-1227057559133&gt;

Schembri, J 2011, Australian film disaster at the box office, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/blogs/cinetopia/australian-film-disaster-at-the-box-office-20110321-1c3ov.html&gt;

Screen Australia n.d, Australia’s Producer Offset and International Co-production Program, viewed 28 September 2014, <http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/dc0401b0-192a-4652-a6b8-5b6e57b7f2f0/TheFacts_flyer.pdf&gt;

 

Classification in the home

The most obvious form of regulation in the home is the code of classification we see every day on our television screens. These ratings, which range from G (general audience) to R18+ are set in place to determine if what you’re watching is suitable for the audience or yourself.
As a child, only one of my parents managed to implement a system in which what I watched determined if it were deemed suitable or not by the government, which meant that from a very early age, I was already learning that rules only applied when certain people weren’t looking (thanks mum).

These classifications are only a code of conduct, and while not enforced legally are rated upon a system that takes many different factors into account. These are things such as nudity, violence, drugs, language and sexual content, all of which are not seen as suitable for children and in some cases only for teenagers over the age of 15 (MA). Each rating has it’s own set of rules and regulations and even it’s own on-air time slot. For example G is for a general audience, so is deemed appropriate for everybody and therefore is available for viewing at any time, R18+ however is restricted and is limited to adult “pay per view”.

ratings2

The most common social concern regarding these regulations is the argument that television corrupts or alters children socially, creating an atmosphere in which they are forced to mature ahead of time or recreate acts of violence they may be subjected to. Numerous studies have been done on these concerns, and in a 1982 report by the American Psychological Association the research found that there were three major effects of television on children (Cmu.edu, 1999);

Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others
 
•Children may be more fearful of the world around them
 
• Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways toward others.

The rules and regulations apply to all exhibitions of content, including home viewing. This is more likely to affect children as it’s the most common space for a television to be in use, and is also public to the members of the viewing household. In situations where there may be more than one child of different ages, these classifications become profound by determining the absence of either child depending on their age, directly relating the regulations back to the space in which they are previewed.

References

Cmu.edu 1999, Violence on Television: What do Children Learn? What Can Parents Do?, viewed on 28 September 2014, <http://www.cmu.edu/CSR/case_studies/tv_violence.html&gt;

Multi-tasking Mediums

Since the year 2000, the attention span of an average human being has dropped from 12 seconds, to only a mere eight (Statisticbrain.com, 2014). This dramatic decline is believed to be the side-effect of social medias continuous, rising popularity.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, Bebo, Tumblr, Reddit etc, in fact by the time I finish typing this sentence, you would have already lost interest.

“Attention, cognitive science tells us has a limited capacity: working memory creates a bottleneck that lets us hold just so much in our mind at any given moment.” (Goleman, n.d.). When the information flowing through our brains is boring, repetitive or routine, our minds start to wander, and as it does this it attaches it’s attention onto the closest distraction it can find: your handheld or compact social device.

In 2013, an investigation was conducted to determine the effects of laptop use in classrooms. “The results suggested that multitasking on a laptop is a distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to learning of classroom materials”, says Faria Sana (2013) one of these investigators. Although the use of a laptop computer does aid in providing a smart technological device to learn and depend on, it also allows the user access to online games, videos and social networking platforms.
I mentioned earlier that the more routine something is, the more our mind tends to wander. This rule is particularly true in regards to education, especially when there are more important things that demand your attention, such as your newly appointed boyfriend or the amount of rising likes on your current profile picture.

I am of course a self-confessed multi-tasker, as soon as there’s an advertisement my iPhone is already unlocked and open on the first application I see, I’ve even memorised where each one is so I don’t have to waste time looking at my screen to open it. My laptop has no fewer than eight tabs active at any one time, I switch between the fastest loading videos, refreshing my email, re-blogging on Tumblr and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. All of which are done within a matter of seconds of each other. Why? because it is available and accessible.

Mobile phones have become less about keeping in touch and more about angry birds, tinder and the 27 selfies in your camera roll that are all identical, but just didn’t make the cut.
There new apple watch is not even designed to primarily tell time, it’s been infested with smart phone features like remote app access, texting capabilities and gaming.
ON A WATCH.
Screen_Shot_2014-09-09_at_3.02.41_PM.0

The reality of the matter is, as we grow so to do our brains and they will continue to do so. We’re always searching for new and exciting ways to challenge ourselves, and distraction or no distraction, I have my eight tabs open and I still managed to complete this task on time.

References

Goleman, D. n.d, Focus. 1st ed.

Kurtzleben, D 2014, What you need to know about the new Apple Watch, Vox, viewed on 24 September 2014,
<http://www.vox.com/2014/9/9/6127087/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-apple-watch&gt;

Sana, F., Weston, T. and Wiseheart, M 2013, Laptops as Classroom Distraction FAQ, Yorku.ca, viewed on 24 September 2014 <http://www.yorku.ca/ncepeda/laptopFAQ.html&gt;

Statisticbrain.com 2014, Attention Span Statistics | Statistic Brain, viewed on 24 September 2014,
< http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/&gt;

 

Redefining Public Space: An observation of personal mobile device use In a public space

Within five minutes of venturing out onto campus to stealthily capture people in the process of glueing their faces to their screens, I was amazed to discover that at-least every 1 in 5 person seen was distracted by either their phone, tablet or laptop.
This absolute emersion into their mobile devices significantly enabled the possibility to photograph the subject without their knowledge, nobody was aware that they were being photographed or watched.

Of course I was able to capture many people demonstrating the use of a private device in a public space, although the ethics of whether or not it was right to use these images were called into question. In the end I decided that even though these people were clearly in a very public space, what they were doing or were involved with was visibly very private . The ethics of street photography has been debated by many, one author, Joerg Colberg asks the question “If someone does not want their photograph taken do you, as a photographer, just go ahead and do so anyway, because you can?”. My answer to this question is no, you should not.

Consent is important when you’re involving other people, and although not technically illegal, the use of their image without this permission is promoting the idea that you do not value their private or personal space, even if it is in public.
A good example of this is perhaps filming a stranger whilst in the middle of a phone conversation, you have a right to be where you are, but what you are recording is personal information overheard by the filming of a public space, and even though this person is clearly in public the conversation that they are having is not intended to be, ethically we automatically know this, and the footage should not be used or broadcasted without permission.

Colberg goes on to argue that the most important question to ask is “whether the public is fine with it”. Just because you have no problem publishing them without their consent, it doesn’t mean that they don’t. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if a photographer captured my image and broadcasted it all over the internet or on any form of media without me knowing, it puts in question the legitimacy of what they are doing and how trustworthy the information they are publishing is. If somebody is willing to ignore my consent in favour of a few dollars or seconds of glory, they are not somebody I would be open to trusting.

When comparing public and private space, you have to acknowledge that with growth and evolution comes change. Public spaces, in the growing age of mobile and compact technology have now become places where people do private things, and these people were always going to eventually integrate the use of these devices into their everyday lives.
This in my opinion does not make it any less personal.

Although I had fun observing the relationship between people and their devices, it’s a relationship reserved strictly between those people and their screens, unless of course, I get consent.

A Night At The Movies

Planning a night at the movies always has it’s obstacles, choosing the right people, the right time, the right place and the right film to watch, everybody has to be in collective agreement about all of these conditions.

I chose three of my close friends, regular movie nights have always been a thing for us, so it was the easiest decision for me. Completely disregarding how tedious it is when involving two males who have indecisive tendencies, we all calibrated over Facebook, shooting session times and of course the most important decision of all; what movie we were going to see.

My female friend had no problems with either, stating that as long as the rest of us could agree on something, she would be happy to participate.
We finally settled on Guardians Of The Galaxy, and I was to wait at home while the other three got ready and came past to pick me up (my biggest obstacle being that I don’t drive), which thankfully overcame the capability of me attending.
The screening time was at 6:45 at the Nowra Roxy Cinema Complex, and as 6:40 rolled around with still no car in my driveway (and no attempt at communication to state otherwise), I was starting to worry that our plans might not even be going ahead (coupling possibility was slowly diminishing).

At 7:03 I heard the familiar rumble of the ridiculously loud black car and opened the passenger door to find that there were only two of them, not three.
“You know we’ve already missed the movie by 15 minutes right? You’re lucky they show ads at the beginning” I said, shaking my head.
“Well actually, we changed our mind” Said one of my male friends.
“We were going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, but then we switched to Spider Man 2, Jaymi got mad that we changed our minds at the last second so she stayed home”

“So, what are we watching then?” I replied.
“Oh, we’re watching Lucy now, it starts in ten, better hop in”.
Atleast I knew they hadn’t forgotten about me after all, and that I was still more than welcome to join in the poorly planned activity.

We all paid for our own tickets and did enjoy the movie collectively, sitting about half-way down the theatre all next to each other. Although it goes to show that no matter how prepared you think you are for a movie night out, there’s always atleast one person who has to make it difficult.

Cinema attendance is already waning from what it used to be compared to how I remember as a child, while I was lucky enough to be going with people who wanted to go regardless of the planning, these obstacles might be considered too tedious for other people. I think most would just prefer to stay home or download their own version without having to really make any effort, spend any money or worry about how they’re going to be getting there and back at the end of the night.