Digital Project Plan

BCM Final Project Plan

Media project: Video storyboard of networking map. Compare 2015 family study to an old one.


  • Mum
  • Frank
  • Nonna
  • Michala
  • Dylan
  • Talia
  • Max

Media: Mobile phone interaction; Ethnography of phone use in the family (networked home).

Space: Family home


  1. Write results for experiment
  2. Write script for video
  3. Record video – and draw it
  4. Write reflection


Ethnographic study

Place/space & pace/place of the changing networked home

Networked home


Social Media

Mobile phone (texting/calling)


“Every Map has its own tale to tell” – Denis Wood

His book – Everything Sings


Get off of it!

From a young age – maybe twelve or so, my Mother had always told me to never touch my mobile phone at the dinner table. Her reason being that it was simply unsociable and rude. At the time, I thought my Mum was the only uncool Mum who didn’t let her children touch their phones during dinner. However, now I realise that she wasn’t the only old-fashioned one.

Neglecting your phone at the dinner table (especially on dates) is somewhat an unspoken expectation. Although there isn’t written rules or regulations about the use of mobile phones at meal tables, a number of studies suggest that their presence can damage personal relationships.

An experiment at Essex University concluded that mobile phones trigger thoughts about wider social networks, reducing the level of empathy and understanding in face-to-face conversations (Telegraph Reporters, 2012). This study suggested that the presence of mobile phones allow individuals to escape their immediate social context, leaving negative effects on “closeness, connection, and conversation quality” (Telegraph Reporters, 2012).

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These social expectations have been recently enforced my United Kingdom PM David Cameron when he banned the use of mobile phones during meetings. Cameron says, “You can not have meetings interrupted by texting, tweeting, e-mailing and Googling going on at once” (Overell, 2010).

Michael Carl, the fashion director at Vanity Fair also addressed this issue by imposing the rule of placing all mobile phones in the middle of the dinner table. Whoever looks at their phone first, will pick up the tab at the end of the night (Tell, 2013). This rule was imposed due to Carl perceiving mobile phone usage at the table as a physical barrier that slowly ruins relationships.

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Texting while eating has also become a major issue among couples in counselling. Dr. Imber-Black states “I think it has to do with the erosion of boundary between work and family, particularly for men in any kind of business situation where they are afraid to stop working practically 24-7”. This suggests that mobile phone usage at the dinner table is replacing face-to-face conversation with a virtual world.

The idea that using mobile phones at the dinner table replaces face-to-face conversation links with Doreen Massey’s concept of the way we experience space in everyday sense. Massesy describes how space is more then a flat surface, rather material and abstract concerning our relationships with each other in social spaces (Massesy 2013). Furthermore, this proposes that when individuals use mobile phones at the dinner table, they begin to socially neglect the other individual, leaving them alone in the space. Meanwhile the mobile phone user has escaped the social space, and entered a virtual social space.

I believe that it was acceptable for my Mum to refuse the use of mobile phones at the table. The above-mentioned studies drew attention to how mobile phones at the dinner table can distance you from face-to-face interaction further damaging relationships. Mobile phones allow you escape a present social space, which in fact is a positive movement. However, I believe that dinnertime is not the time to escape present space as it suggests a physical barrier.


Tell 2013, ‘Step Away From The Phone’, The New York Times, viewed 26th September 2015,

Telegraph reporters 2012, ‘Putting A Mobile Phone On Your Table Will Ruin Your Meal’, The Telegraph, viewed 25th September 2015,

Rimer 2009, ‘Play With Your Food, Just don’t Text!’, The New York Times, viewed 26th September 2015,

Massey, D 2013, Social Science Bites, Doreen Massey on Space, February 1, viewed 26th September 2015,

Overall 2010, ‘What is the etiquette of mobile phones in meetings?’ , BBC News, viewed 26th September 2015,

You’ve lost me.

Last week as many of you may or may not know was the season finale of The Bachelor. To those of you who think this show is ridiculous – I somewhat agree; however this year I got very attached and became addicted (sorry Mum). As Thursday night’s bachelor show began, I decided to secretly monitor my sister’s attention span by slyly recording how many times she shifted her attention away from the television to her phone, laptop or Ipad.

Human attention spans have almost halved in the last 15 years. In fact, a 2015 study concluded that human attention spans are now one second lower then a gold fish. A GOLD FISH!

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With this in mind, I began monitoring my sister. I expected that her attention would be fixated to the television because sadely she also became emotionally attached to the show. As the show began, she gave the television her full attention, only switching to her phone in the ads (Ads are boring! I don’t blame her). However, as the show progressed, I noticed her attention incresingly switched to her phone. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were stealing her attention away from the television to their mediums. As well as this, she began messaging her friends at home who were also watching the show.

Tweenty two phone checkes later and the show was finished. I recoreded eleven phone checks during the ads, and nine phone checks during the show. The television became completely neglected during those nine times as her attention was stolen by her phone – one of producers worst nightmares.

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Sohlberg & Mateers (2015) suggest that attention may be broken down into three parts;

  • Sustained; Maintaing prologned focus during repetitive activites
  • Selective; Avoiding distraction
  • Alternating; shifting attention between tasks demanding different cognitive skills.

In this instance, my sister was alternating her attention as she was focused on the television as well as her phone. However, in diverse life situations different attention types will be required e.g. a University exam will require selective attention, as it is crucial to avoid distractions.

Yet, my sister’s use of selective attention brings me to the point of ‘commercial skipping’. Commercial skipping involves a DVR that allows you to automatically skip over commercials. Although this technology is not available in my house, my sister was performing the same action as this device. And she is not alone, I know myself and others who automatically switch their attention to their phones the second television advertisements come on. Mitch Stoltz (2012) draws on this issue stating, “You are breaking the law when skipping commercials as you are robing the advertisers”.

This investigation shaped the way I perceive human attention. During the past few days I have actively noticed that my attention is rather easily shifted, whether it be at home, in the classroom or at work. I’m still not sure whether the decrease of humans attention span is a positive or negative, but I hope that future research will shape my opinion. But for now, i’ll leave you with this video so you too can measure your attention span.


Microsoft 2015, Attention Spans – Consumer Insights, viewed 23rd September 2015,  pp. 1-51 Canada

Stoltz M, 2012, ‘Tv Networks Say You’re Breaking The Law When You Skip Commericals’, Electronic Fronter Foundations, viewed 23rd September 2015

My extraordinary cinema experience.

Being told I that I had to go to the movies to write this blog post was the best news ever! I love the movies! Not just because the popcorn there is utterly AH-mazing, but also because I feel like I am escaping from the real world for a little while. Movie theatres do that to you, they take you away from reality and throw you into a seat that has the power to take you anywhere.

The movies, put simply are a heterotopic place. Okay, maybe that not putting it simply if you are hearing this word for the first time. But TRUST me, once I explain you’ll get that light bulb moment just like I did.

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Heterotopia, in short means places that separate you from other parts of society. Heterotopic places are spaces in which rules of society get suspended for a little while, places where you feel disjointed from the world while you are in them and places that challenge other spaces (Foucault, 1984, pp. 1-9). It differs from utopia, as utopic places are something that will never exist – merely ideal versions of society. So in a sense, heterotopic spaces allow you to enter utopic places.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 3.33.37 pmSee! Did you get the light bulb moment? After learning all about this topic in my tutorial, I was ready to hit the movie theatre. I knew this experience was going to be different from all previous experiences, as I had never before considered the movie theatre as a heterotopic place.

On Friday, I dragged my boyfriend along to Wollongong’s finest movie theatre ‘Event Cinema’s’ – its not really its finest, just the closest to my house. I had spent all Friday convincing him to watch the movie ‘Train Wreck’ with me because I had heard big things about it. Finally, I had won him over, and before we knew it we were in the car half way there. We decided to watch the 4:15pm showing, as we wanted to miss the crowds. We parked the car, sprinted to the theatre (because it was poring rain), and bought tickets and popcorn (of course). By this time we had already passed all of Hagerstrand’s principals of ‘capability’, ‘coupling’ and ‘authority’ as we are old enough to buy our own movie tickets.

As we sit in the theatre, I noticed that we sat half way up, and half way in. Pretty much smack bam in the middle. We chose these seats, without even discussing it. It was kind of like a moth to a light situation, the seats were just calling our name. We are only surrounding but 6-8 other people as it was a rather unpopular time to go to the movies as the young ones are just finishing school, parents are picking up kids and people are still at work etc.

As the movie starts, I am immediately taken to another place. I forget about the rain, I forget about the pile of UNI work waiting for me at home. I forget everything linked to reality.

The movie finishes, and the only thing I can notice (besides my boyfriends poor bored face…sorry about the chick flick!) is how the movie theatre completely separated us from society. Its interesting, we went to the movies to watch a film in silence, yet we still enjoyed each others company as we, and the others in the theatre were all sharing the same experience.

As we walked out of theatre, two hours later I notice the environment is completely different. The rain has stopped, the sun has set and the streets are becoming busier.

What an interesting day.

Foucault, M 1984, ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias’, Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité, pp. 1 -9,

Corbett, J 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography’, Center for spacially Intergrated Social Science, viewed 29th August 15,

Collaborative ethnographic research – give it a go!

Today, I am trying to answer the question ‘How can collaborative ethnographic research be used to analyse contemporary media used in the home?’ Being a 2nd year UNI student means that the term ‘collaborative research’ is pretty much cemented into my vocabulary. Collaborative research is coming together, whether it is with fellow students or teachers, and working collaboratively to achieve a shared goal. This week, I have learned that ethnography can play a distinct role in collaborative research. Ethnography is the scientific study of the way people perceive, describe and explain the world based on their cultural background (Oxford Journals, p. 197).

So what actually IS collaborative ethnographic research?

My interpretation of this phrase, based on online exploration, is that collaborative ethnographic research is the deliberate and explicit collaboration of the ethnographic method (Lassiter, 2005). Collaborative ethnographic research encourages open explanation from all participants in the aim to form a co-written text that establishes human beings in the context of their daily lives. This type of research provides insight into the complex nature of daily life that traditional quantitative methods of research cannot capture.

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‘Australia Muli-Screen Report’ – An example of quantitive approach to media usage that neglects factors of daily life.

Now that I have somewhat got my mind around these definitions, I will try and justify whether collaborative ethnographic research can be used to analyse contemporary media usage in the home? … Wish me luck!

Nie & Hillygus (2005) conducted a quantitative study on the impact of Internet usage on sociability. Their ‘Time-Diary’ method aimed to justify whether internet usage at home is replacing face-to-face social time or making other activities efficient i.e. online shopping (Nie & Hillygus, pp. 1-5 2005). Although the ‘Time-Diary’ method was considered highly detailed as it recorded participant’s online or social activity six times a day, it was rather impersonal and as a result did not include collaborative ethnography. This study was merely based on a quantitative approach, resulting in a lack of research determining if culture influences media interaction.

A collaborative ethnographic approach however, would generally favour a qualitative study over the previously mention quantitative research. This approach would help researchers gain a deeper understanding of individual’s experiences of contemporary media in the home. To achieve this, researchers should focus on qualitative methods such as, interviews, open-ended questions, surveys and observation over a period of time. Furthermore, collaborative ethnographic research aims to uncover a more personal approach that is based on family rituals.

Although Nie & Hillygus’(2005) study did not include collaborative ethnographic research as it failed to consider personal responses, it does not mean that collaborative ethnographic research can not be achieved to analyse contemporary media in the home. I believe that the chosen method of research is largely dependent on what the researcher is trying to achieve. In the above case, they were merely trying to discover whether Internet usage in the home is supporting the displacement theory or the efficiency theory. They did not study cultural influences. Furthermore, collaborative ethnographic research is a valuable component of traditional research as it considers the affect culture and lifestyle habits have on contemporary media usage in the home.


Nie, N.H., Hillygus, D.S. 2002, ‘The Impact of Internet Use on Sociability: Time-Diary Findings,’ IT&Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 01-20.

Oxford University Press 2015, Ethnography, Oxford Dictionaries, viewed 12 August 2015,

Lassiter, L.E. 2005, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethonography, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Ease of Internet access

After recently uncovering my Nonna’s first experience of television, it was time to investigate again, only this time with Internet, not television. When being told I needed to ask my Nonna about her Internet access at home, I giggled to myself because she lives in Wilton. WILTON! A place where you have to run around the house waving your phone above your head in the hope to receive a bar of phone reception. Internet in her house is yet to be discovered.

So instead of talking to my Nonna about Internet, I decided to chat to the legend herself, Mum. For the past 5-6 years or so, my Mum has forever been saying to my sister and I; ‘Put the phones down, we are at the table!’, ‘Talk to each other instead of typing’, or ‘Are you even listening to me!!!’ But recently, the tables have turned. Oh yes, that’s right Mum, they have. She is now connected to Facebook. She would never admit it, but my former technically impaired Mother is addicted to the thing. Sherry Turkle’s Ted talk ‘Connected, but Alone’ (2012) addresses this matter, “Parents text and do email at breakfast and at dinner while their children complain about not having their parents full attention. But then these same children deny each other their full attention”. This notion of being alone, together and vice versa, suggests that constant Internet access permits not only youths, but parents to connect to different places they want to be in.

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Searching for Internet access has become increasingly effortless, which is why I believe elder generations have jumped on the bandwagon. Internet is in almost in every house. My house in particular has an abundant amount of Internet access. We have unlimited downloads, 1 television, 3 laptops, 2 IPad’s, 4 data plans and 3 phone’s. Along with this, the council has just connected National Broadband Network cables to our apartment block. Like come on, talk about tempting.

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Boyd says “Over the past decade, social media has evolved from being an esoteric jumble of technologies to a set of sites and services that are at the heart of contemporary culture” (Boyd, 2012, p. 6). As this technological culture continues to develop, it will become tougher to escape. The relationship between the elderly and the internet is beginning to strengthen with more and more parents and even grandmothers joining Facebook. For teens, I believe Internet usage is solely focused on connecting with friends while being away from them. However, for the elderly it is a way to keep in close contact with children, grandchildren, work and friends. The Internet will continue to appeal to different demographics as this culture develops.


Danah Boyd, It’s Complicated (2014), free PDF downloadURL

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together TED talk transcript (April 2012)URL

Hi there, long time no speak

My name is Talia Johnston and I am currently in my second year of University studying Communication and Media, majoring in Marketing and Advertising.Sitting through the first BCM240 lecture was quite interesting as I had never heard of the term media space before. Yes I have studied media for the past three semesters, however I never acknowledged the way media can split people in half and allow them to be in two places at once …scary I know!

I began to realise that everyone utilises diverse media spaces to connect with each other. And that in fact, I immensely encircled myself in specific media spaces during the holidays. Due to my sister being over seas for the past five weeks, I made sure to keep up with her holiday through the use of social media. The weekly Facetime calls allowed my sister to exchange her overseas experiences with us, while my Mum and I exchanged our (not so) exciting experiences back home. This forum allowed our family to come together, while being in two very different geographic locations.

Our generation is more then lucky to experience the benefits of modern day technology. I am excited to see what technology has in store for our future!