By documenting my media use for over a period of a week, I have explored the idea of what ‘we do with online media’, and how we use it. This essay will explore the theories and statements that have developed during my research.
By definition media is defined as “the means of mass communication” and is essentially a concept of communicating. In contrast to Guantlett’s approach, he states that media is not just a channel for communicating, but a “trigger for experiences and making things happen” (Gauntlett, 2015, p.7). Media has changed over the last few years from being significantly about watching and listening to creating and influencing, which is where this idea of new media is formed. “New media concerns the…. relationship with people and society” (Siapera, 2012, p.6), both Gauntlett and Siapera have similar theories regarding the way we look at media. In contrast to traditional media, where the consumer was never the producer. However now with online media, this notion of communicating through computers and phones, it is now easier for anyone to produce and deliver content to a public audience. Personal expression in Online media is what Gauntlett and Siapera can describe as “making things happen” or creating a relationship with people (consumer) and todays community (society). Which leads into the discussion of social media and the era of the Web 1.0 and 2.0, personal web pages, and the Encyclopedia Britannica online “belong to the era of Web 1.0” (Kaplan, Haenlein 2010, p.61) and now have been replaced by “blogs, wikis, and collaborative projects in Web 2.0” (Kaplan, Haenlein 2010, p.61). The current state of online technology is the concept of Web 2.0, a product of greater user collaboration, and more enhanced communication. Which essentially paved the way for the concept of social media, built upon “the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0…that allow the creation” (Kaplan, Haenlein 2010, p.61). Theories of creation, experience, and building relationships are all concepts that conclude ‘what can we do with online media’.
These concepts are what emerged from my documentation, and can prominently be seen through the actions I took daily with online media. I had built a social media routine by constantly building relationships and experience with friends and the online community. While also becoming highly dependent on social media to ‘make things happen’.
The process before documenting my online usage was collecting and sifting through my data. This was a process of brainstorming my media usage, and creating a list, looking back on my browser history on my laptop, my saved photos and open applications on my phone. What I experienced was an array of online actions that occurred every minute of every day, I was constantly engaging with the online community. I found it useful to start my blog entries with a list of what interacted with that day, and in turn started to see patterns within my daily usage. My discussions were in depth and an expansion of who and what I interacted with that day. What I found during my experience was how aware I had become about having a reason behind everything I did online, there was always a context behind it.
Evaluating my documentation, the statements that have become clear by the end of the process was not surprising. I learnt more about the type of person I am becoming, and how I personally interact with media in my own way. I have a routine where I repeat the same processes, which was really interesting to extract from my weekly blog posts. My blog entries from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, have somewhat the same outline. As mentioned in my evaluation blog entry “Every morning I would wake up and check the same social media apps like they were my morning paper” (Michellenetworkedmedia, 2017, para.1) Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook was constantly being checked, I believe “Social media is a routine activity” (O’Keeffe & Pearson, 2011, p.800) in itself and because it is constantly being updated, I feel the need to constantly check it. I want to be informed when it comes to my friends who aren’t in my immediate circle and “continue to need more usage in order to feel satisfied” (Cabral, 2011, p.11). In theory I’ve made “social media…top priority” (Cabral, 2011, p.11) which I believe isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The limitations that came with this process is that I feel more research into my usage on these specific apps would’ve been beneficial.
Linking to this theory, my documentation also sheds light to how dependent I have become on online media. Gauntlett talks about media having emphasis on thinking of “media in a multi-modal way” (2015, p.10) and that we shouldn’t define it as just looking at screens. Which is how I’ve allowed myself to become widely dependent on using media beyond authoring and publishing. It’s become a tool to help me get through the day, in my blog entries I was using applications to ‘make things happen’. Such as using the Commonwealth Bank application to transfer money, or The My Journey Planner application to organise my time which I mentioned in my Friday blog entry. These applications have caused us to see media differently as they have been a change mechanism for our life, as technology is evolving, it would be thoughtless to not adapt. Rokeach and De Fleur discuss this notion that “dependency is heightened, when a relatively high degree of change is present in society” (1976, p.7) my dependency on social media can come from the ability to adapt to the changes in technology.
In conclusion I’ve learnt through my documentation that media is beyond authoring and publishing. That exploring the deeper meanings beyond thinking of media not just as communication can reveal much more about how I interact and use it in my daily life. With my documentation I have been able to see past the negative statements that I had made earlier in my analysis blog posts, and explored them to make positives out of my own media use.
- Gauntlett, D, 2015, Making Media Studies: The Creativity Turn in Media and Communications Studies, Peter Lang, New York
- Siapera, E, 2012, Understanding New Media, Sage Publications, London
- Kaplan, A, Haenlelin, M, 2010, Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media Andreas, Vol 53, pp.59-68
- Cabral, J, 2011, ‘Is Generation Y Addicted to Social Media?’, Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, Vol 2, no. 1, pp. 5-12
- O’keeffe, g, Pearson, k, 2011, ‘Clinical Report: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families’, Council on Communications and Media, Vol 127, no.4, p. 800-801
- Rokeach, SJ, De Fleur, ML, 1976, ‘A Dependency Model of Mass Media Effects’, Communication Research, Vol 3, pp. 5-19
- Michellenetworkedmedia, 2017, Networked Media, viewed 8th of April 2017, <https://michellenetworkedmedia.wordpress.com>