Over the past nine weeks I have learned a lot about the concepts of media, audience and place. I have realised that not only are these concepts a large part of every-day life for people all around the world, but they are also very closely linked. What would media be without an audience? Where is the audience when they consume and absorb this media, and how is this significant? To some people, this might sound unimportant. Why not study something that can change the world? Surely something scientific would be of more use than understanding the relationship between media, audience and place. But to me that isn’t the case. I think entertainment is integral to the happiness of the human race, and as corny as that may sound, I do believe that media provides an irreplaceable type of enjoyment. In addition to this, media has also proved to be extremely useful in many ways. For this reason, I believe research into these concepts is important, for both the media producers as well as the audience.
Keeping up with changes and advances in technology and media is an important part of understanding media, audience and place. For example, TV technology as well as the culture of TV watching has changed a lot over the years. Interviewing my mum about her experiences with television really helped me to understand the extent to which media and technology (especially television) have evolved. This interview also led to my understanding of the importance of culture and norms when it comes to media, audience and place. The technologies, media platforms, and media content are important, but more important are the interactions the audience has with that media. I found it interesting how these interactions changed depending on where the audience was viewing the content. For example, going to the movies is consumption of media in a public place. Usually sitting in a dark room, without talking and paying attention to something else is considered anti-social behaviour. However the addition of media, an audience and a certain context (place) makes this situation perfectly normal.
The cinema is obviously a public space, but with media and technology advances it is now hard to clearly define public and private spaces. Mobile devices allow people to access media in public spaces, whilst still being private. I found this concept interesting because the use of mobile devices has led to people acting more privately in public, and the use of devices at home has led to people acting more publicly in private. I believe this because activity online is a public action. This is supported by Mackie-Mason and Lesk (2011), who believe complete privacy is not possible online. This is interesting because this means people are sharing things publicly online, however they may not feel comfortable with the people around them (in a public space) viewing this content over their shoulder. My interactions with other bloggers further confirmed my belief that people are acting more privately (through media technologies) in public spaces.
I also find it interesting the amount of media consumption that now occurs at schools, which leads me to the concept of media multitasking. Many students take their laptops to university as though it’s a limb they can’t live without. Many researchers (such as Jeong, Hwang, Wang and Tchernev) believe the use of mobile devices during classes (aka media multitasking) can actually hinder a student’s learning rather than assist it. I relate closely to this concept because I prefer to take notes in a book when watching lectures because I feel media platforms and technology can be too distracting.
What I find most interesting about the concepts of media, audience and place is how they relate to me and the things I do. These concepts affect and are part of my every-day life. This blog, for example, encompasses all of these elements. I am using media to try to reach, connect with and even inspire an audience. This audience comes from everywhere. As my statistics show, my blog has had visitors from USA, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia and many other countries. Some of these people just view my posts, but others like (favourite) them, and a small amount even comment on them. This blog may be a requirement of my university degree, but the fact that people actually read my posts and like the ideas I have is an incredible feeling. Connecting with a public audience is very difficult, especially when you’re not sure exactly how to write a post that people will relate to and understand. Making your blog look nice and easy to navigate is a good first step, but ensuring the content will attract an audience takes a lot more effort. I use a lot of tags with my blog posts because it provides my audience with an idea of what each post is about. Tags are also useful because it attracts audience members who are just researching the elements that my post encompasses. Twitter is another good way to reach an audience. I tweet a link to my blog posts when I publish them to let my Twitter followers know I have been writing about a new topic. Facebook can be another good way to attract an audience. I don’t really link my posts on Facebook unless I think they are about a very interesting topic. This is because my Facebook friends are more of an audience I know on a personal level, and knowing they are reading and critiquing my blog is a bit intimidating. Connecting with an audience is really important to me and I have tried to make the design and content of my blog appeal to the widest possible audience.
I feel I have achieved a connection with a public audience because since the start of this session 13 more people have followed my blog, and many have commented in response to my posts. As I have written each week about media, audience and place, I definitely feel my blog has evolved, and my understanding of media, audience and place has evolved with it.