Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Personal media use & production diary:

I have tracked my media consumption (reading, listening, etc) and production (blogging, social networking, etc) over the course of ten days in order to gain insight as to how the world of Media and Journalism relates to my everyday life. Further, I have delved into the nature of my media consumption and production, providing details of which media outlets I frequently turn to, the various elements of media I expose myself to; along with detailed explanations as to how and why I consume media. I have also provided comparisons with not only my JOUR1111 peers, but a law student and a social worker, in order to gain a wider insight into how other people within society relate to the media as well.

My personal media use:

Television: On average, I watch 4 hours of television every ten days.
Radio: I hardly ever listen to the radio - 2 hours in ten days.
Newspapers: Over the past ten days, I have forced myself to read the newspaper, because although I do not plan on ever working for a newspaper in my career, I understand that this may change; I read the paper (The Australian and The Age, plus MX on the train) for one hour every two days.
Magazines: As I want to own my own magazine one day, 13 hours in ten days does not surprise me at all. I tend to read Yen, Frankie, Nylon, etc, though I find most print magazines to be lacking in content, more so filled by advertisements and wordless fashion editorials - because of this, I would say that my magazine consumption has probably dropped by 15 hours in ten days, over the past five years.
Literature: An avid reader since I could talk, consumption of literature comes in a close second in the Which Media Platform Takes Up Most Of My Time? stakes - though not typically thought of as a media platform, I see the written word (both fiction and non-fiction) as a sub-form of media due to its worldwide nature, ability to transcend cultural barriers, and informative nature. I spend 17.5 hours with my nose in a book every ten days since starting full time university education; I can safely say that during my gap year I was consuming double, sometimes triple this amount of literature.
Social Networking: I spend 16.5 hours per ten days on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. This number actually shocked me, considering that 1.65 hours a day is nothing for the average teenager (particularly since I, along with 44.2% of my JOUR1111 peers, own an iPhone, and fit into the 95.4% of us who have Facebook downloaded to it), until I realised that much of my time on Facebook is spent, not chatting with my friends, but reading online articles via applications, which I have documented under 'newspaper consumption'.
Blogging: As a blogger, it really did not shock me that the majority of my media consumption and production time goes towards writing for my blog, along with the online magazine I run that is hosted on the blogging platform, Tumblr. With a total of 22 hours spent on Tumblr in the past ten days, it is clear that not only am I constantly creating content; but that a large part of my knowledge regarding world events, news stories, even other cultures must come from other people around my own age across the globe, and is being brought to me through micro-blogs! As somebody who actively boycotts new technology such as Kindle and other e-Readers, one would think I'd spend more time on newspapers and less time trusting the words of my peers!
Most of my time (I would say 75%) goes towards writing and editing my own posts, however I also read several other Tumblr blogs on a regular basis - much of my knowledge regarding local politics, for example, comes from a particular Brisbane blogger, who also happens to be a 23-year-old DJ. I consider myself widely informed regarding world affairs, so this definitely came as a shock to me.
YouTube: I only ever watch YouTube videos when someone recommends one to me. I used to regularly watch The Young Turks, an American left-wing YouTube-hosted news channel, however stopped doing so when my interest in YouTube itself waned dramatically around six months ago. In terms of non-mainstream news consumption, I found The Young Turks to be extremely relevant, offering fair and balanced commentary on many world events, centring around United States politics as well as university education and news scandals. As an aspiring journalist, I plan to start viewing this particular media platform again on a regular basis.

If we consider television, radio, newspapers, magazines and literature as 'Old Media' and social networking, blogging and YouTube as 'New Media', it is interesting to consider that I devote exactly half of my media consumption to each form of communication:
One would expect the typical teenager to consume a significantly larger amount of New Media than Old.

Let's take a second to compare my media consumption to that of the rest of Australia.
Research released by ACNeilson in 2010 indicated that the average Australian spends 3.2 hours per week reading newspapers, which works out to be 4.6 hours in a ten day period. I spent a total of 5 hours reading newspapers over ten days, however we must keep in mind that this is because I forced myself to do so. Interestingly, when I lived in a small rural seaside town, I would read our weekly local paper regularly; I think this is because of the geographical and topical relevance - living in a small town makes for more relevant news in terms of actually knowing the people being written about and being able to associate place names with memories, etc. Though regional news reporting is not my personal area of interest, it is important to take this into consideration.

This same research shows that television and radio take up, on average, 19.3 hours each of an Australian's life over the course of ten days; my results, as seen above, are significantly less than this.

The most prominent difference, however, is of course the amount of time spent online. Over ten days, the average Australian spends 28.1 hours online - if we include both social networking as well as blogging in the total hours I spend online, it brings it to 38.5 hours in ten days, which is over ten hours more than the average Australian! According to survey results, the majority of my JOUR1111 peers spend between 20-30 hours per ten days online, thus I have concluded that I spend a disproportionately large amount of time on the Internet.

Ten days in the life of Daisy Lola:
One of the first things that popped into my head upon calculation of how many hours I spend consuming and producing media in a ten day period (83), was, 'Oh wow, that's a LOT - I wonder how else I spend my time..." and so I decided to document that as well.
Here is the very first rough graph I drew up in order to compare the amount of time I spend blogging, reading the paper, etc, to... well, everything else in my life -

The majority of my time is spent on producing and consuming media! This alarmed me, until I remembered the broad range of categories I included in 'media use' - thank goodness all that time isn't just spent sitting in front of Facebook!

Journalism student vs. Law student vs. Social worker
Something I noticed during this study was that I'm a Journalism student; this means that I force myself to read the paper even when I don't find it enjoyable, because I know it's good for my degree. I constantly read magazines because one day I want to own my own; but other people probably don't feel the need to force themselves to do these things, so I was interested to see how much media a couple of people in my life consume compared to my seemingly huge amount!
Below, I will illustrate my media consumption in comparison to that of my best friend, a first year Law student, and my mother, a social worker in her forties. I chose these two because I see them as intelligent members of society, neither of whom simply walk through life without questioning it or wanting to find out more, both of whom share similar morals and values to myself.

Television consumption:
Journalism student, four hours. Law student, one and a half hours. Social worker, twenty hours.
Reading the newspaper:
Journalism student, five hours. Law student, nine hours. Social worker, twelve hours.
Listening to the radio:
Journalism student, two hours. Law student, not applicable. Social worker, fourteen hours.
Social networking:
Journalism student, sixteen and a half hours. Law student, "constantly". Social worker, twenty hours.
Journalism student, twenty two hours. Law student, thirty hours. Social worker, seven hours.
Reading magazines:
Journalism student, thirteen hours. Law student, two hours. Social worker, three hours.
Consumption of fictional literature:
Journalism student, seventeen and a half hours. Law student, ten hours. Social worker, fifteen hours.
Watching YouTube videos:
Journalism student, three hours. Law student, half an hour. Social worker, one hour.

It is apparent that the most prominent differences lie within the mediums of radio - a working member of an older generation listening to an average of thirteen more hours in ten days than two full time university students - and blogging; with twenty-three hours difference in consumption over ten days between law student and social worker. This is interesting to note when considering the evolution of media over the past couple of decades; the two members of my generation gain much of our news and world information from blogging and micro-blogging sources as a newly acquired habit, whilst an older person would be in the habit of listening to the radio in the car during her commute to work; we gain the same information, at roughly the same times, simply through different platforms of communication. Blogging is obviously a more interactive forum for news, with bloggers able to give their two cents and share new insight into current events with the click of a button, whereas radio listeners are more likely to talk with friends or co-workers about these events privately. Strangely, 63% of my JOUR1111 peers didn't have a blog prior to entering the course; this is alien information to me, since Tumblr and/or Blogger accounts are about as common as Facebook within my generation.

How much media is too much?
When analysing personal media consumption in comparison to that of my peers, fellow Australians and the like, the question is raised, at what point does one saturate one's life with media to the extent that it becomes 'too much'? 
If we place, at one end of the spectrum, those of us who do not have Facebook accounts, rarely watch the television - and when we do it's not to watch the news - and choose to disengage with the outside world, preferring to hear of world events from peers or not at all; & on the opposite end those of us who are glued to our iPhones, on Facebook and Twitter during lectures, and never seem to remove ourselves from media, news and networking - it becomes clear that the average member of Generation Y would aim to be somewhere in the middle, though more likely leans towards Media Obsessed, with a wifi connection fingertips away and a Tablet on hand at all times. Older, perhaps less engaged members of society may deem this constant connection to the outside world a negative, but coming from the perspective of a news-interested-blog-junkie, at least it gets us thinking, right?

Above: A YouTube clip by The Young Turks, discussing the recent shooting of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin and whether it was a racially based hate crime. This is a fantastic example of the power of New Media and YouTube to bring previously unseen elements of news stories to light; it was The Young Turks' YouTube commenters who picked up the possible quote, "f**cking c**ns" in the 911 call. In many ways, interactive media has become a step towards allowing the public to not only voice their opinion, but truly impact upon news items.

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