My Research Progress

Over the last week I have continued brainstorming and researching for my Digital Research Project. I have been keeping a notepad handy to jot down any bright ideas that spring to mind. I have also gone so far as to pull over whilst driving to make voice memos on my phone, whenever inspiration strikes.

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I remain confident in my decision to focus this project on YouTube. So far I have enjoyed this aspect of the project; I believe I have come up with some great ideas and found some really useful resources.

What I want to research and demonstrate through this task is the evolution of sharing and viewing content. Content on YouTube can be filmed and watched virtually by anyone, from anywhere. YouTube is able to transcend physical spatial barriers. Videos can be shared instantaneously and can be discussed and commented upon in real time. Because of this, YouTube is variable; it is interactive; it is adaptable. YouTube is not just a medium for audiences to watch video content, it is a platform for communities to be formed.

For the sake of research, I have searched for, and watched, countless YouTube videos and scoured the Internet for relevant articles.

I have found articles online comparing traditional and new media. A sample includes:

I found a great article on the A.V. Club, YouTube stars create communities, not fans, discussing the impact of YouTube and its creators, and the communities it has enabled to form.

I have found also found countless videos supporting the points I wish to make in my own video for the presentation of my DRP. These include:

As well as conducting my own research, I have been in contact with another BCM240 student, Dan. Dan makes vlog-style videos for YouTube, on his channel, Danger Dan Vlogs. He has generously agreed to collaborate with me on my research project, so that we can share our ideas, discuss our thoughts and film together. Over the last few days I have come up with a few questions that I want to ask Dan when we meet to discuss face-to-face. The types of questions I have designed include:

  • How would you describe the YouTube space?
    • As a media form?
    • In terms of audience experience?
  • Why is it that some things are successful on YouTube but they wouldn’t be on other media platforms?
  • How do you believe YouTube’s audience experience differs to that of traditional media audiences?
  • What benefits do new media forms, such as YouTube, offer its audience?
  • Where do your video’s view come from? Where is your audience located?
  • What are your thoughts on the YouTube audience as a collective?
  • What are the advantages/ disadvantages of making YouTube content?
  • Why do you believe producers of traditional media, such as TV shows, are now making content specifically for YouTube?

I have also forwarded these to Dan, so he can have a read and start thinking. I have come up with these questions as prompts for our discussion, so that I can keep the discussion on track and collect some relevant information from Dan for my project.

Please stay tuned for the next update on my progress of my Digital Research Project.

An Introduction to the Digital Research Project

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be undertaking a Digital Research Project, in which I will be required to “design, implement and evaluate a digital storytelling project”. I will be using my blog, as well as YouTube, to present a research-based creative project on media, audiences and places. In order to do this, I will be presenting relevant research in this area, collaborating with others, and exploring different mediums.

I have decided to make YouTube the focus of my Digital Research Project. Media practices and audience experiences are very spatial in nature, and I believe that YouTube can be used to demonstrate this. As an aspiring YouTuber, and loyal user, I am interested in researching and presenting the links between the YouTube platform and media, audiences, and places.

As a relatively new, and ever-evolving medium, YouTube is a different way to watch and share video content. YouTube is a portable medium – it’s content can be filmed, and watched, anywhere and at anytime. All that is needed to shoot video content is a camera. Smartphones have enabled anyone to film, upload, and watch content, almost instantaneously. These videos can be accessed on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers, enabling them to be watched wherever and whenever the viewer wishes. They can then be shared and discussed on various other social media platforms.

As well as reading pre-existing research on this topic, I will be conducting my own field work. In order to collect primary research on this topic, I hope to work with fellow YouTubers and Vloggers to discuss their first-hand experience with YouTube, it’s spatiality, and its connection with media, audiences, and places.

So there is my introduction to the Digital Research Project, and the next BCM240 adventure. I will be documenting my process throughout this task here on my blog, posting updates about my thoughts, ideas, research, and my progress, so, watch this space.

The Debate of Law and Ethics in Pubic Spaces

Private spaces are different from public spaces in terms of access and control; public spaces are managed by balancing access and control factors (Bowles, 2015). When in public spaces, people are expected to behave and act in a certain way, based on societies expectations and laws.

In the news recently, a concerning legalisation has caught the attention of many, and started a discussion surrounding what is legal and what is ethical in public spaces. Recently, courts in America, such as those in Washington, Massachusetts and Texas, have ruled that ‘upskirt’ photos are not violating the law. Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled that secretly photographing underneath a person’s clothing is not an illegal practice. In one such case, the high court ruled that the practice is not a violation of the law, because the women being photographed while riding public transport were not nude, nor partially nude. In a similar circumstance, a court in Texas has upheld the ‘constitutional right’ of citizens to photograph strangers as an ‘essential component of freedom of speech’, even if the pictures are taken for the purpose of sexual gratification.

To me, and many other rational-thinking people on the Internet, ‘upskirting’ seems to be a serious form of harassment and a violation of privacy. However, the laws surrounding ‘upskirting’, especially in America, are vague at best. So, are Australian’s protected from this form of harassment? The Australian Privacy Act states that if an individual’s identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained from a photograph or video images, then the use and disclosure of that image is covered by the Privacy Act. But what if these explicit images do not violate a person’s identity? Does this law not apply?

Have you heard any of the news about the legalisation of ‘upskirting’? Do you think that the victims of such harassment should be better supported by the law? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments down below.

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Reference List

Bowles, K 2015 BCM240 Lecture 6: Public Televisions and Personal Devices: 2015 Lecture Slides 31st July 2015, UOW, Semester 1, 2015.

My Reflections on Media, Audience, Place Thus Far

Although this is my second year as a student in the Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies, and have undertaken blogging for subjects before, I found this task, and its accompanying expectations quite different. When blogging for BCM240, we were asked to remain fully aware that we were writing in the public space. Our words had the potential to be read by people from all over the world. Although I had blogged for previous BCMS subjects, my mindset for blogging had previously been very narrow. Although I was conscious that I was posting my blogs online, I do not believe I was fully aware of what that meant. From the beginning of this writing task, we have been reminded that what we write online, will be entering into the public space. I believe that this newly-realised understanding changed the way I undertook this blogging task, from those I have previously completed in other BCMS subjects.

I have kept the same blog for the past two years, and as such, it remains an archive of all my BCMS work. I have taken the past two years to work on the design and layout of the blog, changing and editing it as I go. At the start of each new semester I see it again with a fresh pair of eyes, and change it to suit the subject. Since first starting my blog, my skills have developed exponentially. I have read countless other blogs to observe different writing styles, blog designs and layouts so as to make my own more appealing and user-friendly. I have categorized my blog posts, which can be seen in the sidebar, so that all of my blogs are divided into relevant subjects. I like this feature because all of the blogs for one subject can be more readily accessed, and read through sequentially. A list of my recent blogs, with links to each one, is also in my sidebar to make navigation around my site easier for readers. My sidebar also contains a live feed of my Twitter activity, so as to link my relevant online profile, as a public writer and researcher for BCM240: Media, Audience, Place.

Although I was carefully writing and editing content, and promoting my blog, I found it honestly difficult to draw more readers in, and make them leave comments. I tried a number of strategies to increase reader engagement. Since blogging for BCM240, I have started using tags on my blog posts. I have enjoyed adding this feature to my blog posts so that it can be found and read by a larger audience, and not just targeted at those in the BCM240 subject. I began doing this to try and boost my readership. Also, to try and achieve this, I posted direct links on my Twitter account to try and draw in readers. I also tried rhetorical questions to spark conversations in the comments below. Even though I had a wider perception of my audience for this task, I found the concept of reader engagement quite difficult. Although I was dedicating so much time and energy to my blog, and employing different strategies, it is honestly difficult to draw readers in, and make them leave comments. I believe that because reader engagement was a stressed component of this task, it became something I was very conscious of. I found myself regularly checking my statistics and looking to see if any comments had been left on my posts. I can honestly say that sometimes I found it disappointing not to receive more attention for my work. This was an interesting revelation to me, and something that I believe, that writers and researchers have to face.

When blogging for BCM240, I found myself writing for a wider audience than I previously intended. I was now writing for a global audience. When previously I had believed my readership to be limited to other BCMS students, I was conscious that what I was writing could possibly be read by people from all around the world. When I began writing with this perspective, I found my writing to become more interesting, and hopefully more engaging to the reader. I took my time on each post, often spending days, or even weeks, working over ideas and words, before being happy with what I had submitted. I included various sources, media and links to provide my readers with a comprehensive understanding of what I was discussing. Because of the time, effort, and word count I included in each individual post, I only managed to publish five blog posts. I would have loved to post at least two if time had permitted. Each topic had so many angles and possible discussions that I would have so many ideas for each topic, and sometimes spend weeks brainstorming and editing. I had more prominent and relevant ideas for some, than others, and decided that I preferred to write fewer blog posts, and dedicate more time and words to those few.

Overall, I have really enjoyed this blogging task. I have found that each time I undertake a new BCMS subject and continue to add to my blog, I learn and grow as a researcher and a writer. This time around, I was more aware of myself as a researcher and a writer in the public space, and the responsibilities that entailed. I was more aware of my writing style, and my editing, and how important these features are when you have the potential for such a large audience. I was made more aware of the impact that personal opinions and theories can have when they are projected in the public space, especially when researching and writing my blog post on Catching and Keeping Attention, in which I discuss the Syrian refugee crisis. I have also learnt that even though, I am just a university student, blogging for an assessment, I am also a researcher and a writer for Media, Audience, and Place, in the public space.

So thank you for joining me on my journey this semester, and I hope you watch this space for more to come.