Pitch

So, if you have been following my #BCM241 blog posts, you would have noticed I was dancing around my media niche, unsure of where to head exactly.

I knew my interest lays with mental health. I was on the pursuit for self-development, but found that this, is quite a large and A complexed media ‘niche’. I needed to narrow it down, yet again.

So, now we have it. Mindfulness.

I can now confidently say I know what my media niche is. How nice.

Below is my video pitch for the BCM241 research project.

Hopefully your standards were low. I can only improve from here?

In the pitch video I didn’t expand on my field site so much. Essentially, my field site consists of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. However, due to time restrictions, my main focus will be on Instagram, as this is what I spend majority of my time on in comparison to the other platforms. Plus, I feel people similar to me with the same interest would be too.

The Urban list identified 9 of the best mindfulness podcasts to listen to in which I will jump on. I mentioned in my pitch that I will be engaging in mindfulness activities with the applications of Headspace, Smiling Mind and Calm. No, I will not be making these applications compete for my approval. It is essentially to immerse myself in the culture of Mindfulness.

For the Digital Artifact (DA) I aim to create a personal narrative in the form of a creative blog. I would like to incorporate my creative design skills in the blog, such as making digital art collages and graphics. The DA will include relevant links to resources and profiles that I found to stand out in the field of mindfulness.

Thank you for reading.

Namaste.


References

Videos from Pexels

Cowley, N ND, blades of grass, video, Pexels, viewed 11 October 2020, <https://www.pexels.com/video/blades-of-grass-2480792/>.

Danilevich, O ND, a woman doing meditation exercises, video, Pexels, viewed 11 September 2020, <https://www.pexels.com/video/a-woman-doing-meditation-exercises-4352398/>.

Elliott, T N.D, a woman writing on a journal, video, Pexels, viewed 11 Spetember 2020, <https://www.pexels.com/video/a-woman-writing-on-a-journal-4596337/>.

Images

Calm (2020), about – calm blog, image, Calm, viewed 11 September 2020, <https://blog.calm.com/about>.

Smiling mind (2020), app – smiling mind, image, Smiling Mind, viewed 11 September 2020, <https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app>.

Tidbits (2020), Headspace app, image, Tidbits, viewed 11 September 2020, <https://tidbits.com/2019/10/14/headspace-a-guided-meditation-companion/>.

It is ethical.

Internet spaces can be understood as cultural, a place for people with the same values, customs and practices to gather. These cultures are filled with multisensory interactions such as emojis, gifs, texts, images and videos. These interactions, when put into context within a particular culture carry different meanings to that of other cultures. However, since we are so smart, we are able to decode and interpret them in various contexts. For example. The fire emoji 🔥. When put into the context of a social media user looking fabulous, it is interpreted as HOT! Dayummmmm. When used in the context of someone spitting some truth, they are on fire (not literally). Then someone might use it to express how hot it is in Australia. Can also be used to explain how LIT their weekend was. One symbol, can mean so many things depending on the coded context. 🔥🔥🔥

For my autoethnographic research project, I aim to immerse myself consciously in the realm of mental health on social media, with an attempt to discover and understand themes and how people communicate within them. Mental health is a sensitive topic, and has only recently become more of a topic of conversation due to advocates speaking up and out. To try and keep it real, my autoethnographic focus will be on the positivity of the raised conversation and how it has helped myself and others. When it comes to analysing the data I have collected, I will be looking for prominent themes, such as Sari Hokkanen had found embodied field experiences of feeling rushed, disgust and joy in her autoethnography of volunteer interpreting in Church (Hokkanen, 2017).

Social media platforms are commonly framed as spaces for expression, where people share their opinions, such as those on politics, social issues, their feelings or express themselves through memes (Winter, et. al 2020). This space also enables such articulations to be listened to. To participate on the internet, we must listen. Winter and Lavis theorise two types of listening on social media; ‘Active’ and ‘Adaptive’.

Active listening is the act of contextually engaging with the voices of plenty that surround each social media post, and that move beyond the post and into other topics and spaces (Winter, et.al 2020). This demonstrates why we should listen. Adaptive listening is simply, but not simply how we should listen. Adaptive listening offers a way to embrace the multiplicity and heterogeneity of online communities to forge a nuanced understanding of social media platforms and their distinct, unique cultures (Winter, et.al 2020).

Qualitative researchers situate themselves in a consciously value-laden territory in which human relationships and critical self-reflection loom prominently (Mertins 2014, pg. 510). They enter a realm of ethical dilemmas throughout the research process that go beyond legal requirements and professional standards. Ethical research procedures need to be considered and followed adequately and the use of the qualitative data needs to be considered. At this point, my research will be an autoethnography, but who knows what the future holds. I may stumble upon some awesome people willing to share their experiences and opinions. For that matter, I will ensure confidentiality upon their consent and completion of a participatory document. I will provide information about the research project, give them my contact details and ensure they feel free to bail at any time. When representing their data, I will not provide characteristic details that could expose their identity. Since my research project is based on social media, it is appropriate to share live links to public profiles and pages in support of my findings.

References

Hokkanen, S 2017, ‘Analyzing personal embodied experiences: Autoethnography, feelings, and fieldwork’, Translation & Interpreting, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 24-35.

Mertens, Donna (2014) Ethical Use of Qualitative Data and Findings, The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (Edited by Use Flick), Sage: Los Angeles, 510 – 523.

Winter, Rachel and Lavis, Anna (2020) Looking, But Not Listening? Theorizing the Practice and Ethics of Online Ethnography, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics Vol. 15(1-2) 55 – 62.

Ok, I found a problem.

Growing up in a small town, I had dreamed of getting out and exploring the world and doing marvelous things. But to do that, we need money, education and a good head on your shoulders (mentally, not physically – although it seems attractiveness is the answer). The concept of bettering myself became clear, but the journey is always unknown. So, that’s when we turn to someone above, someone who has experienced it. Learn from their mistakes, absorb a healthy structure into our daily lives that then flourishes into a healthier and happier life. Sounds good and easy, right?

This concept of self-development has been around for years. But, today, in the era of internet technologies and a saturated market, who is real and who is fake? Taking on the role of being an influencer, you have a lot of responsibilities. The nature of this topic is very personal and sensitive. So, why do I see a large majority of people who are self-taught self-help gurus flooding social media rather then educated clinical psychologists or trained spiritual healers. I discovered this problem the deeper I went into my newsfeed. The algorithms handed me Instagram influencers with a passion for self-help instead of trained clinicians.

Why is this an issue?

Mental health should be taken very seriously. Yes, people can show their support by sharing content etc. But the issue arises when influencers who are not accredited or educated in the field, claim to have the answer. Mental health has always been a personal interest of mine. As Sarah Wall (2006) states, an initial engagement with a research topic occurs with an discovery of an intense interest that is not only meaningful, but has broader social implications. I believe this research topic would take the interest of others. Purely because, we can agree that social media influencers in the marketing spectrum take over our news feed, leaving the educated and accredited ones behind.

So how will I carry out this research task?

Through observation and autoethnography, I hope to obtain new knowledge about this topic as well as define a problematic feature, and narrow my focus on that aspect and synthesize it with theoretical frameworks. I hope to find an understanding of the broader social implications this problem has a input in.

My process.

The process will be a process itself, I have no clear indication on how exactly I will carry out this research task, or other elements and concepts that arise as I dive deeper. But at this point, I aim to follow more and examine influential accounts, both the educated and ‘claimed to be’. I will take part in journaling personally and observing others interactions with these accounts. In my journaling adventures, I will take note on my emotions, the time and place that I am engaging with the posts, and what type of posts they are. For example, late at night I scroll through an account with motivational quotes. Why is that? Do I want to reflect on it, and make a better day tomorrow? Or I find myself saving posts about anxiety and meditation. And why do I go on social media instead of helpful resources like Beyond Blue? This question bothers me.

My loose schedule.

References

Wall, Sarah (2006) An Autoethnography on Learning about Autoethnography, International Journal of Qualitative Methods 5 (2).

One step closer to a narrowed niche.

I brushed over in the previous blog post that my media niche was going to be the subculture of self-development. Self-development in the media primarily exists in the online world, essentially because, heck, everything is online. The self-help book you bought at the store, its available as a audio book online.

In this blog post, I aim to narrow my niche by identifying the key players and it’s field site. A field site refers to the network of incorporated physical, virtual and imagined spaces (Burrell, 2009). Below, is my attempt of mapping the field site.

Like anything on the internet, Self-development as a online culture is huge and extremely complexed. It is tiring to think about all its deep, interconnected layers. To conduct an ethnographic study on social media platforms, we observe the online public’s and the fluid associations among people whom don’t actually know each other, channeled by a common denominator (Airoldi, 2018).

To grasp somewhat of an understanding of the ‘Self Development’ field site, It seems strategic to begin with a ‘research search’ in which distinguishes a ‘meta-fieldwork’ (Airoldi, 2018). Starting with Instagram, the aesthetically pleasing platform, filtered by hashtags and algorithms, I simply searched the hashtag #Selfdevelopment. This hashtag features 2.3 million posts, growing daily. Clicking on few of the top posts, this hashtag is in conjunction with the following hashtags…

#selfcare #selflove #selfdevelopment #selfimprovement #selfgrowth #selfmotivation #selfrespect #selfworth #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #normalizenormalbodies

And the list goes on.

Having a click through the top posts, the accounts include a lot of Self-Discovery Coaches, Motivated Mindset Inspiration Quotes, Psychologists, Teachers, Grad Students, Fitness Trainers, Entrepreneurs, Motivational Speakers, Business and Mindset Mentors. This already begins to paint the picture of educated, motivated and healthy people. From my understanding at this point, these accounts would be the facilitators.

Let’s take a look at @myeasytherapy

This account is Dr. Michaela, a Clinical Psychologist, working in the field of Mental Health for over 10 years now. She brought her knowledge and experience to an Instagram page to make mental health wellness information accessible for everyone. Dr. Michaela interacts with Instagram users via using the applications question features on the stories. The posts are supportive and positive, providing information on mental health, motivation and affirmations for users to do. The persona of Dr. Michaela appears to be similar to others within the field site.

Another person I follow is James Clear, I have read his book ‘Atomic Habits‘. I have included James Clear as an industry leader, he not only does he have a best selling book and a strong social media following, but has also been interviewed by London Reel (see below). Both James Clear and Dr. Michaela have different professions, however they share a fundamental goal to destroy stigma around mental health, educate and support people to reach their full potential.

From being immersed in this culture myself, I understand how I interact with these professionals and influencers. If they post a heartwarming or related message, I jump on it and share it to my Instagram story. I hope for others to interact positively with it.

References

Burrell, Jenna (2009) ‘The Field Site as a Network: A Strategy for Locating Ethnographic Research’, Field Methods, 21:2, 181–199.File

Airoldi, Massimo(2018) ‘Ethnography and the digital fields of social media’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21:6, 661 -673.

The personal growth influencer.

Humans are interesting, aren’t they? One moment they are hunting, gathering and killing themselves from eating unknown poisonous berries and next they are taking filtered selfies concerned with the number of likes they can get. Evolution is crazy. How would our ancestors behave if they jumped through time and landed here today?

Where am I going with this?

Well, I have always been curious about technology and its impact on our lives and mental and physical well being. Yes it has done wonders. But has it stripped us apart from our natural selves and mother nature? Do people prefer to communicate online rather than in person? Are we addicted to technology and is this unhealthy? The questions are endless.

Technology has immersed itself deeply into our daily routines, becoming a habit to check social media instead of checking in with ourselves or binge watch a series on Netflix. But the good news is, we can access some great people and information online (if you look for it).

Influencer’s dominate the media and are quite fundamental in a brands marketing strategy. Studying marketing has made me aware and more skeptical of social media influencer’s. However, my interest lays with the influencer’s in the realm of Mental Health, as I believe they have a positive agenda for society. They aim to encourage people to improve their mental health, transform their life and to become the happy successful person they aspire to be.

I can’t pick the day that my journey in ‘Self-development’ began. I do remember, having yet another downer of a day. I was in the shopping center (which I hate) and Harry Hartog caught my eye. I remembered my coach talking about this book ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ by Mark Manson. So I went in, it was over in the ‘Self-development’ section. I probably spent 30 minutes looking at all these glorious books by these inspiring authors, already planning my next purchase.

After reading the book, I bought his next one ‘Everything is Fucked’. I really enjoyed reading these books, and getting back into reading. I enjoyed it so much that I shared it on Instagram, Classic… Friends responded to my post, sharing how these books had helped them through a tough time and shifted their perspective on life. This inspired me more.

So, for my BCM241 ethnographic project. My ‘Media Niche’ will be (subject to change) the subculture of self-development, in which sits under the umbrella of Mental Health. Ethnography is the observation and analysis of the patterns and processes in human activity. It explores cultural phenomena through methodological research processes (Christine & Immy, 2011). Autoethnography is the study of the individual experience in order to understand a cultural experience (Christine & Immy, 2011).

This ‘niche’ includes key industry leaders that have their own websites, best selling novels, podcasts, strong social media followings and conduct meaningful webinars. It also includes social media influencer’s without an academic degree that inspire their dedicated followers. It also includes people like me, an average person interested in the topic for personal reasons. Investigating ethnography will not only deeper my understanding of the niche, but I may undergo so personal growth myself.

Being fascinated by this topic, it would be interesting to understand why and how other people have made this journey. It goes beyond the influencers sharing their wisdom. It has developed a movement among the people. More and more I see people (who are not influencers) share their about self-care and their morning yoga routine. However, like many things, this could be a fad or just for the gram.

https://giphy.com/gifs/loG7TbqLitOPTVfg3o

References

Daymon Christine and Holloway Immy (2011) ‘Ethnography’, Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. Routledge: New York.

Once upon a time in the cinema

Once upon a time in the mid-1980s, cinema landed in Australia and worked its way into the average lifestyle. Cinema is considered a Heterotopia, you step into an alternate world of film, advertising, overpriced drinks and popcorn.

However, the value of cinema has shifted over the years, thanks to the advancing technology and streaming services, putting the ‘cinema experience’ in our control.

Time Geography

Torsten Hägerstrand developed the concept of Space-Time Geography. This revolutionised the study of individual movement and behaviour in time and space. Hägerstrand discovered three constraints that influence the experience of physical life paths.

Three constraints
  • Capability (limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors)
  • Coupling constraints (restrictions on the autonomous allocations of time due to the need to coordinate with other individuals)
  • Authority constraints (limits imposed by external parties)

Auto-ethnography of my cinema experience

You could say I am your average millennial having Netflix as apart of my routine. It is now rare for me to attend the cinema unless there is a film I am desperately wanting to see.

I forgot what it was like to attend the cinema. Luckily, for me, the new Tarantino film Once upon a time … in Hollywood 2019 was being released on the 15th, I wanted to see this on the big screen. I avoided watching any trailers, I wanted to maintain a fresh perspective and eliminate any pre-assumptions. I already knew I was in for a ride with a Tarantino film.

20190818_181253.jpg
Sunday night, nothing but the staff and a tumbleweed or two.

The cinema experience began with the decision to watch the film. I discovered the coupling constraints when coordinating with friends and trying to work around each other schedule. The plan was originally for the Friday night, but, altering factors caused us to postpone to the Sunday night. This required each member to reorganise their Sunday plans to make the 6:30 pm screening.

Space-Time Prism = the set of all points that can be reached by an individual.

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Perfect night in (out)

Originally, my Space-Time prism was tight, I was rostered on till 5pm, had a half-hour drive to get home, have a shower then another half-hour drive to the cinemas and pop into Woolworths to purchase Old Gold Dark Chocolate. This one and a half-hour gap gave me anxiety, but luckily, I was able to finish work at 4pm. Having my Space-Time Prism expand, anxiety had left and I could enjoy the film in a better mindset.

We seem to measure distance by time…

In terms of capability constraints, I experienced no issues. I used my own vehicle to take my brother and I. The parking lot is free and the film is rated MA 15+, with us all being over the age restriction by 10 years, we experienced no authority constraints. 

Overall experience

Having ghosted the cinema’s for a long time, I had almost forgotten what it was like. Being on a quiet Sunday night, when most families are at home, we had the cinema to ourselves. I found value in the price for the comfort of recliners, huge screen and great sound. The cinema rules also played a significant part in the experience – turning off your devices – there were no distractions, we were truly engaged in the film, and the experience didn’t finish once the credits rolled up, it continued for the drive home as we reflected and tried to wrap our head around the classic Tarantino film.

Reference:

Corbett, J 2001, Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography. CSISS Classics. UC Santa Barbara: Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science, viewed 24 August 2019, <https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2t75b8sj&gt;.

Once upon a time … in Hollywood 2019, motion picture, Directed by Q. Tarantino.

90’s vs 00’s

The way in which different generations engage and utilise media is an interesting one. Obviously,  it differs between generation gaps – explaining to your Grandfather what Netflix is.

“What is this nonsense? When I was your age………(insert intense story here)..”

giphy.gif

This got me thinking. As a 90s kid, I was introduced to the ambiguous internet. I remember dial-up. The big phat monitors. Floppy discs. Microsoft Paint. CD’S. Google. You-tube. Using MSN behind my parents back. My time on the computer was so little but so valued, it was like a whole other world. Today, however, having an adult life, I now use my paper-thin Macbook to send emails, do uni-work, sort finances, almost daily. The sense of value has shifted.

Social Media’s Generation Gap

I didn’t discover Facebook until I was 16. The 16-year-olds today have most likely had Facebook since they were 12, just from my observation (don’t hold it against me). I thought wildly about how I engaged with Facebook when I was 16 and compared it with the average 16-year-old today. Both 16-Year-olds are shaped differently, due to the media use and exposure (scary).

I would have logged on to Facebook from the computer maybe 4 times a week. The 16-year-old today is switching between Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram on their smartphones. Posting an endless supply of filtered selfies that are currently trending. I didn’t get a phone until I was 17. I remember the exciting days when someone had brought their camera, it was a massive deal. Now, everyone has one that can instantly share photos with the internet. The keyword here is instant, things now are so instant, when things aren’t instant, we get tantrums.

I could continue comparing the 8-year gap, but I am sure you are able to reflect upon it yourself. Welcome to Media Ethnography, a subject I am currently interested in.