Stop and Drop: The Reflection

For my digital project I decided to look into the weeks that were most interesting to me, these were weeks 6 ‘personal devices and public spaces’ and weeks 8 ‘attention, presence and place’. I choose these topics because I wanted to identify what emotions that are attached to our devices when we have them and when we don’t have them, as well as uncovering the way we interact with our devices in relation to our attention span.

After extensive research into the topic of our attention span and anxiety felt towards not having our phones with us, I decided to conduct a social experiment to see just how truthful these claims really were. I was out to prove the statements made from a study conducted by Microsoft Corp (MsSpadden, 2015) for myself. The statement made by this study was that the human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 second, 1 second less than the attention span of a goldfish, which is sitting at 9 seconds. As well as combat some of the statements made by Phone Addiction (2015) on phone addition on millennials and other avid phone users.

My research was spilt into three different parts, the first of which was my research stage, finding out what information and studies were already out there regarding phone usage, attention span and phone addiction. Once this was established I moved onto my social experiment to obtain qualitative research on the emotional connections we have with our devices. The social experiment that I conducted was spilt into two sections, an observation stage and the experiment stage, each lasting 30 minutes each. I also conducted a survey to gain more data both a qualitative and quantitative front; this expands my research from detailed explanation and statistical information, as “both qualitative and quantitative methods of research play important roles in product development” (Madrigal and McClain, 2012).

From developing this project I have learnt how to put together a research project, which utilises more than just a survey, branching out into an experiment in response to the information I had found. In order to successfully conduct this experiment, I had to manage my time effectively to gain enough resources and present my results in a visual and engaging way. To keep on track with the different elements of this project and meeting my goals I created a timeline of when each element should have been completed by to give me time to change or improve upon what I had gained in terms of results. “Timelines are important in evaluating the feasibility of your project. Inexperienced researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that the various stages of research will take” (Develop a Research Proposal).

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While conducting this research project I have come across many risk that could hinder the progression of my research, therefore critical thinking was needed to prevent these risks from happening. The majority of the risk that would be associated with the qualitative data found within my experiment, as this is the data that can be seen as most harmful towards participants. “Qualitative research is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research” (Snap Survey, 2011). To over come each of these risks I have created a risk-planning table to refer to during the course of this research project.

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For more information on my research project refer back to my pervious post, Stop and Drop: The Research, were I talk about the background information on the topics I have chosen to talk about and further my knowledge on.

Research of this nature can be presented in a visual and engaging way, which is something I considered when looking at ways to present the results I found during the course of this research project. For this research to be effective on media platforms is it important for visual engagement to be present, if you wanted to convince media industries of the pressing issues at hand. Personal accounts from this type of research as seen through my social experiment highlights the pressing issues and can deepen the connection of people on a more personal level.


References:

Madrigal, D and McClain, B 2012, ‘Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative and Qualitative Research’, UX Matters, weblog, September 3, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2012/09/strengths-and-weaknesses-of-quantitative-and-qualitative-research.php&gt;

McSpadden, K 2015, ‘You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish’, Time, weblog, May 14, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/&gt;

N/A, Planning the Methodology – Timeline, Develop a Research Proposal, viewed 19 October 2016 <https://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/researchcourse/develop_writing_methodology_timeline.html>

Phone Addiction 2015, ’25 Surprising Facts About Phone Addiction’, Addiction Tips, February 22, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.addictiontips.net/phone-addiction/phone-addiction-facts/&gt;

Wyes, S.E 2011, ‘What is the Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?’, SnapSurveys, September 16, viewed 19th October 2016 <http://www.snapsurveys.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-qualitative-research-and-quantitative-research/&gt;

 

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Stop & Drop: The Infographic

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Below is an infographic I created that shows the results of my survey conduct in the last couple of weeks in a visual and condensed manner. This information supports my findings from the social experiment I conducted a week ago, if you wish to take a look at that video click here.

The results found were conclusive to my initial hypothesis that many people in the age group of 17-21, also known as millennials, find it difficult to not have their phones or other electronic, Internet devices on them at all times or be interacting with them. The results also found that many people have less of an attention span when their phones or devices are around them, supporting the claims made that humans now have an 8 second attention span less than that of a gold fish who has a 9 second attention span.

Follow the rest of the infographic to find out what other interesting facts my research has found.

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Stop & Drop: The Social Experiment

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This is the social experiment I conducted in response to the research I found on the human attention span and the anxieties surround our phones, as mentioned in my previous post. This experiment follows Alanah, (who has given consent for her information to be used and viewed on a public forum), to better understand her interaction with her phone.

For this experiment I spent half an hour monitoring Alanah’s attention span while watching TV counting how many times she touched or interacted with her phone. For the other half hour, I took Alanah’s phone away from her and monitor her reaction and feelings towards not having her phone around her.

Watch the video above to see how the experiment unfolded.

Comment below your thoughts on the research and how you would feel if your phone was taken away from you. Do you think 30 minutes without your phone is excessive like Alanah?

Also, your participation would be greatly appreciated if you could complete my survey to give me more information for my research. Your answers will remain anonymous but will be placed on my blog for further analysis and to draw a conclusion.

Stop and Drop: The Research

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After the course of 9 weeks in the BCM240 lectures and tutorials I have come to a conclusion on the premise of my research project. Drawing from the content found in weeks 6 ‘personal devices and public spaces’ and weeks 8 ‘attention, presence and place’ lectures as well as pulling from my own experiences and emotions from anxiety felt with our devices and our attention span, I wish to shed some light on how we as a society in a newly technological age interact and feel about our devices.

Now let’s take a set back and imagine a time where everybody actually talked to each other, there were no technological distractions, no dinging of Facebook messages or whistles of tweets coming your way. What I like to call a simpler time!

Hard to imagine right?

Try imaging this…“A group of people wait by a monument, unaware of each other’s existence. A woman strides open-mouthed down a busy street, holding one hand across her heart. Two young men – brothers? – stand behind a white fence, both their heads bowed at the same angle.” – (Tom Chatfield, 2015)

Have you ever been in a similar situation (not as dramatic as this one), where something is happening but you’re too amerced in your phone to notice? Or would you in fact notice the situation and capture it on your phone to share with your online world?

Almost every city in the world has its streets packed with people doing the same thing, all taking the same positions bowed down to an electronic device. This has cause two problems in our society today, one our attention spans for everyday tasks is met by us taking 2 hours out to look at our phones and mindlessly scroll through our social media apps.

How many of you have sat in a lecture hall or in a tutorial and witnessed most of the class with their laptops open, but are tapping away on their phones or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook? I can’t say that I am no exception to this; in fact I have just spent an hour scrolling through Facebook while trying to complete this sentence.

If you don’t think this is bad, a new study conducted by Microsoft Corp found that the “average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain” (McSpadden, 2015).

The study also confirmed that 77% of 18-24 responded ‘yes’ when asked, “when nothing is occupying my attention the first thing I do is reach for my phone”. These findings coincide with a British study conducted in 2014, which found that the average person shifts their attention span between their Smartphone, tablet and laptop up 21 times in an hour. This need for constant engagement with digital devices leads me on to the second problem we have society, that being many people over the age of 18 being addicted to their phones.

From studies conduct on this topic here are some facts on Smartphone addiction (Phone Addiction, 2015):

44% of people have stated that they become very anxious when they lose or misplace their phones, also stating that they would not be able to go one day without their phones.

91% of generation Y revealed that they take their phones with them everywhere, even to the bathroom. Also highlighting that 80% of 18-24 year olds sleep with their phones right next to them.

The need to have your phone with you all the time, has caused 80% of people to have phantom vibrations, through the belief their phone is ringing but in reality is isn’t.

This has lead the average person to check their phone 110 times a day while more addicted people check their phones up to 900 times a day.

This has become such a pressing issue that scientists have named the fear of being without a mobile phone as nomophobia.

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Research methods:

In order to conduct my research and find analysis the results of peoples emotions and their interactions with their devices, I wish to product a survey whereby, I shall ask anonymously what individuals habits are when it comes to their phones, social media and their anxieties to their phone. I will slipt the survey into three parts, asking questions about attentions spans, their feeling towards their devices and how they would feel if they were not to have their devices on hand.

Meanwhile, I shall be conducting my own social experiment, where I shall be videoing the response of how many times an individual picks up or get distracted by their devices while in everyday situations as well as taking their devices away from them for an hour or two and recording their responses on an emotional level once being away from their devices for such a long period of time.

With each of these research methods I will be collecting both quantitative and qualitative, the reason for this is to ensure I get the most out of my responses in terms of statistical facts as well as in depth opinions that spark discussion and further research. “Both qualitative and quantitative methods of research play important roles in product development” (Madrigal and McClain, 2012). Quantitative research looks at numbers and gathering statistical information, which will help strengthen my research in terms of the percentage of participants who feel anxiety without their devices or do not feel anxiety without their devices. Qualitative research will give me a greater understanding to the emotions created with the connection of our devices and how often our attention is or is not lost due to distraction of our devices or lack of attention.

The One With The Reflection

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During the last nine weeks of the BCM240 (Media, Audience and Place) course, I have transformed and redesigned my blogging habits and posts thus to engage with my already established audience as well as my newly found audience. In order to create a more professional atmosphere within my blog posts as well as on my blog in general some changes had to be made. This meant looking into how to word my blog posts in a way that would showcase the content in a creative and respectful manner. This course in particular focused greatly on research and interviewing participants for their responses, this meant a certain aspect of care, respect and responsibility had to be take when relaying the information gathered onto my blog. Therefore it was imperative that I had the consent from my participants to use photos, videos and their own content from their answers to my questions. Thus meaning I had to transform my blog into a safe place where this information could be freely accessed but also looked at in a respectful manner. To combat these issues, research into how to write a successful profession blog post was done as well as research into consent when writing publicly which was interlinked with the weekly topics found in the lectures, tutorials and weekly readings.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen (2011) clearly presents how you should behave while blogging online and identifies the responsibilities bloggers hold when it comes to their creative content. Hendriksen places great emphasis on the codes of ethics based on the codes and ethics of the Norwegian Press as blogging and content online is linked closely to the bases of these rules, stating “this role carries with it a responsibility to be fair, honest and respectful not only towards your fellow members of society but also toward fact” (Hendriksen 2011). This source is something that I had to look carefully at when creating content for my blog on the topics that I mentioned, were sensitive and needed careful consideration.

In order to engage with my already established readership and allow for an expansion of my readership, I decided to take a different approach to my blogging and express myself in a more personal manner, thus allowing my audience to get to know me. “To achieve your business goals, your blog needs a personality to make it stand out in the sea of information competing for your target audience’s attention” (Cohen, 2013). This statement is something that has stuck with me this year while I have been redirecting my blogging practices. I have found that by adding my own personal flare into my blog has meant that my readership has increased and has spread across to many parts of the world that I could have only imagined for my blog to go. By following the tips on ‘9 Tips To Develop A Winning Blog Personality’ has allowed my blog to grow, however, this source does combat the issue through a marketing perspective therefore some to the tips had to be changed or manipulated to fit the atmosphere and purpose of my blog. Adding personality to my blog was a main focus of mine to gain readership, I did this by adding my own personal stories into my posts as well as making videos, something that I enjoy doing to add a different element to my blog as well as change the layout of each post.

I feel like I have constructed my blog as a foundation into the course topics, as well as into who I am both as a persona and as a blogger. By using the topics mentioned in the lectures has allowed me to establish a foundation for my posts, by allowing further development of my understanding of each topic by finding examples and research into the technical aspects. The formula I have taken with my blog has allowed my writing style to change and develop as the weeks have gone on as well as allowed for a varied audience to come through my blog and see what I have created. I have also add the element of discussion within my posts, by asking for people opinions and comments on the topics or examples that I have been referring to, this helps me engage with my audience more and also adds to the personality of my blog.

Another aspect of my blogging practice that I have implemented is the layout. Not only is the layout of my individual posts eye catching, by adding various pictures to keep the audiences attention but has also been integrated into the categorisation of my posts as well as the key words that have been tagged to ensure my posts receive maximum reach. Both the categorisation and tagging of my posts have different advantages that allow for a greater reach, “tags are meant to describe specific details of your post…your site’s index words” (Editorial Staff, 2016), and “categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts…they help identify what your blog is really about” (Editorial Staff, 2016).

In response to the first assignment task, I have learned that I need to be more thorough with my sources and add more information into the research tools I am evaluating or exploring to give more depth and meaning to my posts. I have tried to do this by adding more definitions to my posts about the core concepts to give the extra element of professionalism as well as having the ability to engage with my audience on a deeper level by providing them with extra information so they can use that as a foundation for their own research into the topic if they wish.

A key aspect that has allowed me to gain a larger and wider audience has been the mentioning of blogs written by different and varying authors, especially those of my peers who are taking the same topic in a different direction. This I feel has allowed my audience to expand their knowledge on the topics, which I have not covered, therefore creating a network around the subject and its content. Something that is mentioned in an article written by Adam Connell in 2016 on ‘How To Boost Engagement On Your Blog (So It Doesn’t Look Like A Ghost Town)’, this particular article does give me extra pointers on how to approach my audience in a different way to maintain and expand on my readership.


References:

Cohen, H 2013, ‘9 Tips To Develop A Winning Personality’, Heidi Cohen Actionable Marketing Guide, weblog, 7th February, viewed 27th September 2016 <http://heidicohen.com/9-tips-to-develop-a-winning-blog-personality/&gt;

Connell, A 2016, ‘How To Boost Engagement On Your Blog (So It Doesn’t Look Like A Ghost Town), Blogging Wizard, weblog, 15th September, viewed 27th September 2016 <http://www.bloggingwizard.com/reader-engagement/&gt;

N/A 2016, ‘Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content’, wpbeginner, weblog, 13th April, viewed 27th September 2016 <http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/categories-vs-tags-seo-best-practices-which-one-is-better/&gt;

Hendriksen, M 2011, ‘Code of Ethics for Bloggers, Social Media and Content Creators’, weblog, N/A, viewed 28th September 2016 <https://mor10.com/code-of-ethics-for-bloggers-social-media-and-content-creators/&gt;

Access…Denied or Granted?

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When it comes to media and the regulations that sit behind how we use the online space can often be blurred between our own perspectives of what is right and wrong and our need for privacy and general concern for copyright. The media regulations that are in play can be found in both public and private spaces from censorship to relationship and in-the-home rules.

Media regulation refers to the control or guidance of mass media by governments and other bodies. Following closely in the footsteps of TV regulation whereby censorship in many countries regarding social media access, can be denied when related to certain topics. Hence why many YouTube videos and other online content can only be viewed in certain countries or alternatively cannot be viewed in various countries. As made evident in countries such as, China, North Korea, Turkey and many more.

Media regulation can also come in the form of copyright, when it comes to downloading and streaming content. This topic has a very blurred foundation in regards to whether it is or is not acceptable to take content for free. Many will argue, that if the content is available on a free platform to stream or download, why would you not take advantage of the opportunity? However, others believe that downloading content is detrimental to the industries making the content.

But what are the actual implications of downloading? People continue to download as they don’t see the effect or the implications on themselves to stop. The exception being with an 29 year old man from Rhode Island being fined for $675,000 for downloading and sharing 30 songs, however this seems to be the only case where actual implications for such an act has been pressed. Therefore how can you draw the line for what is wrong and present media regulations for downloading and streaming?

But let’s take a step back and more across to the private spaces of media regulation, regulation monitored in the home. Historically media regulation online through social media and generally on the Internet is usually linked with children, youth and those who can be potentially harmed, through sites and content they should be or shouldn’t be subjected to.

As a child I had parental control on the Internet along side a time limited that would monitor not only the content I was looking at but also how long I was spending online in general. This was to ensure my safety while online but also gave my parents peace of mind while I was on the Internet. However, to do this now through our devices on social media platforms that we have and interact with would be rather difficult unless permission has been given to access the platforms. Therefore tapping into the topic of privacy. In order to monitor the movement young children, youth and the potentially harmed make online through social media, means access to these platforms must be granted, whether that be by giving out passwords for those to peruse your page or allowing free access. However, where does the line stop in regards to how in depth someone can monitor your accounts and your movements made online?

Media regulation on any level, private or public is something that we must all be cautious of and take extra care with how we use our devices and how present ourselves online. But having someone control and monitor your every move on a platform that is designed for free thinking and voicing your opinion could be a breach of your privacy. However, how can the government and any other bodies use media regulation as an excuse to enter your private domaine?

Would you allow for someone to monitor your social media accounts? Do you believe downloading content is acceptable?

Comment below all of your thoughts and opinions.

My Attention Span

 

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This week I was meant to conduct a small experiment on someone to test their attention with the presence of social media devices. However, I thought instead of testing someone else, I thought I would test myself. Now to give you an indication on how bad my attention span has been just this morning, it is showing that media devices do cause a lot of distraction.

This morning I woke up at 7:00, did and workout and decided by 8:30 I was going to be unbelievably productive today so I could have my Saturday free before having to go to work on Sunday. However, I have spent 5 hours going down the rabbit hole of YouTube before finally realising that it’s 1:30 and I should probably get some work done.

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What my computer screen looks like right now…ooops?!

I would like to put a disclaimer out there that I am usually very good at trying to overcome my distractions that are connected to social media or anything else for that matter. However, I have recently become a tremendously busy person who has no time to really stop and take time to relax. Therefore, when I find myself doing something I don’t really feel like doing I do find myself actually looking for a distraction to take myself away from having to completely the task at hand.

Although today is very much proving to be a very difficult day for me but should make for a good review of distractions and social media.

Now I must say that when I have multiple plies of work to complete I do find myself multi-tasking not only from one project to the next but also from social media accounts to tap into my free time at the same time. Admittedly I also do this during my classes at uni (sorry mum and dad). But as well all known our generation of people who have grown up with the rise of social media and constantly being connected is somewhat of a necessity for us. I often feel like it is a subconscious act when we get our phones out when we’re bored or go straight to our laptops when someone says something that interests us and we want to look it up then and there. I often don’t even realise that my first instinct is to reach for my phone or laptop, but the fact of that matter is that I can’t always live without my devices that can and will connect me to social media.

Although I’m not the type to constantly post things on social media I am the sort that will endlessly scroll through posts until I get hungry or fed up…usually the hunger kicks in first. And I often can leave my phone at home and go about my day (keeping in mind, usually whoever I’m with has their phone on them). However, there are a lot of people in the world who can’t live without their devices or being connected. Scientists have now concluded that humans have a shorter attention span to those of gold fish, highlighting that the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds since the 2000’s. Coinciding with the introduction to smart phones, therefore making it clear that smartphones and our need to stay connected have affected our attention spans dramatically to 8 seconds, which leaves gold fish better than us at a 9 second attention span.

I use to have a friend who would constantly be on their phone when we went out, this would infuriate me something stupid! I couldn’t grasp how someone who wanted to see me and hangout with me couldn’t take the time to put their phone down for an hour and actually take in what was happening in front of them.

(This video is a perfect example of what I’m talking about…just saying.)

Honestly I still can’t fathom it and it annoys me far too much when people do that. I mean I guess I can’t be all that upset because I in fact do it myself on odd occasions and it is part of my lifestyle however, I do believe that it is good to disconnect every once in a while.