182MC reflection

Reflection on 182MC – Critical Media Methods

Critical Media Methods was quite a useful module because we were thought different types of research such as ethnography, research of culture, space, visual, digital. As for students, research takes a huge part in the making of assignments and just studying in general so I’ll definitely use the knowledge in further modules. For the assignment, we had to produce a 30-minute behind the scenes video of us doing weekly tasks. For the first two weeks we were really confused because the tutor was a little bit uniformed and couldn’t explain the assignment properly but after some time we got the hang of it and managed to finish it without too much fuss. According to the feedback, behind the scenes video is amazing. It’s well planned, full of theory and properly done research, all of the ideas we chose work perfectly and all of it looks nice visually though I wish we got more feedback focusing more on the suggestions or something that should’ve been improved. Because it is such a long video, I’m sure there has to be something that could be changed, added and it can’t be perfect.

Advertisements

105MC reflection

Reflection on 105MC – Key Concepts in Media and Communication

This module was, I would say, really complicated and confusing. One of the reasons was that it took me a while to figure out what the module is actually about. What I really liked about were the seminars because the lecturer was constantly engaged with everyone and that Media and Communication students were mixed with journalists, Digital media, Media Productions students as well. This way we got the chance to hear opinions from and work with people from different backgrounds. The assessment was the most stressful one because it was an actual challenge. We had to come up with a media artifact and complete it in 72 hours. Because of the lack of time the was no time for mistakes and every day was important. After the media artefact was submitted, I had to write an individual critical analysis of the media artifact. According to the feedback, I’ve done enough readings to make the essay properly backed up but and then hard work can be clearly seen. Though I needed to focus on the artifact rather than the question/topic I created for myself. I believe I got a little bit lost in the writing process so I didn’t really do what the task told. I should’ve been more specific which made the piece a little bit too generic. The feedback and the grade was not necessarily what I have expected because I spent so much time and put a lot of thought into writing the essay but I believe I should’ve spent more time in the begging breaking the task down and understanding the assignment brief better.

 

181MC reflection

Reflection on 181MC – Contemporary Theories: Media and Cultural Issues in Context

This particular module was interesting because even though I was familiar with the topics chosen for the lectures, lecturers analyzed them in a new way in more depth and with a different perspective. I would call the module quite challenging as well because we had it during the first term which meant everything was still new, we had to get to know the group members in order to work smoothly for the projects, etc. Also, every single week we were asked to produce some sort of artifact which didn’t allow us to slack off.

For half of the assessment, we had to submit the group weekly tasks and from the feedback we got, I can tell that we did pretty well for the first assignment. The best tasks were the ones we did at the beginning but as time passed, every single project became a little bit rushed because, I believe, we got tired and were lacking time which was noticed by the lecturer as well.

Another half of the assignment was an individual essay. I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the main idea and actually writing it but as it is stated in the feedback, I could’ve expanded more on some issues and looked at the main theories more in more depth. Even though I had quite a few suitable references, I couldn’t manage to fully/properly use them. However, the main idea was interesting and it reflected the connections between the module topics

 

180MC reflection

Reflection on 180MC Living in the Digital World – Putting Theory into Practice

This particular module was very interesting. I enjoyed how the lecturer made everyone feel important by letting to express themselves, share ideas for the final project, discuss others’ work and so on. In addition, the assessment was one of the most interesting ones.

We were asked to produce a video essay which allowed us to be as creative as possible and express ourselves in the way we wanted. As for the feedback, we were told that the final video was really successful as well as original and well narrated. The lecturer pointed out that some more research could’ve been done to make the essay properly/strongly backed up and I have to agree to all of the points stated above. Our group was really interested in the topic of the video itself which made the making really enjoyable thus we tried to make it as original, different and entertaining for our audience as possible. The topic itself was a pretty broad one so we tried to narrow it a bit which probably made us slip in terms of the lack of research.

Another half of the assessment (an individual one) was writing reading responses. The feedback pointed out that the writings were clear, direct and well written though it pointed out that I should be more critical and emphasize strong and weak points more. Once again, I agree to the feedback. Some of the texts were a bit difficult to understand and analyze made it complicated for me to come up with strong pros and cons points and I still need to work on my critical thinking/writing.

 

Reading response. Week 7 || 180MC

Both of this week’s readings were explaining the concept of new and old media. Though their ideas were a bit different and, I may say, contrasting.

Charles Acland in “Residual Media” talks about how we can always find the presence of the past in something new, very recent. The old is always being improved and rediscovered which, in a way, does not allow us to let it go. Found Magazine (foundmagazine.com) is one of the examples mentioned in the text. This website allows people to share their findings of old Polaroids, notes, audios and makes the website act almost as a mobile museum or virtual cabinet of curiosities bringing people this weird, prideful feeling of discovery and nostalgia. Bringing history to the second life can be explained by vintage things being a new mainstream trend. Vinyls and secondhand clothing are currently being woken up by the millennials for the second life by being sold at garage sales and secondary markets because they are seen as something trendy and fashionably old-fashioned. Marc Auge says that “History is on our heels, following us like our shadows” which means that we can never get rid of our past whether it is memories or technology. The old and the new are in this constant circulation mode. They complete each other and go hand to hand.

Tara Brabazon in “Dead media: Obsolescence and redundancy in media” shows a little bit different and a harsher view on old media and the old in general.  The author believes that “Media has a cycle” and once it is forgotten, it is gone and nobody can bring it back for second life and to support her point, she came up with a pattern (“Excitement. Ownership. Decline. Denial. Decay. Disposal. Death”).  There is no need to cling on old, aged things because there will always be something new and better to replace it. Thus as soon as something new comes out, technically it is already nearly dead because new updates, new versions are being processed. The article suggests an equation (“Old Media + New Media = Now Media”) which shows where and how the old media disappears and states the new media is useful and relevant to current days.

I prefer Charles Acland’s ideas rather than Tara Brabazons because I strongly agree that old and new media cannot go without one another and they definitely do not need to be divided. As the author says, we are like compasses which “find an orientation between the past and the present”. Some aspects from the past can be put aside for some time but it will definitely be rediscovered if not by us then by another generation.

*Acland, Charles. Residual Media, 2007. pp. xiii-xxiii

*Brabazon, Tara. “Dead media: Obsolescence and redundancy in media,” in First Monday, Volume 18, Number 7, July 2013

 

 

Researhing the digital. Week 8 || 182MC

Social media ethnography: the digital researcher in a messy web

From the title I could tell that the text will be something I am familiar with already because I have learned about ethnography at the beginning of the course so I was interested to deepen my knowledge about it and maybe see ethnography in a different context.

According to the text, ‘social media are increasingly central to contemporary everyday life and scholarship’ which means that not only is it part of our free time but also lately it has been taking huge part in studies and doing research in particular. People are starting to use social media for investigating because they can explore blogging and look into people’s Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. On one had it is a great development because it makes researcher’s life easier and he/she doesn’t have to go to a certain location to get the data for a research project. However, it can be really dangerous for both researcher and the person who is being researched. The researcher, because of a great population of internet trolls and pirates. For the researched person, because everything that is posted online, stays online even if it is ‘removed’. It was written what a researcher has to do in order to do digital ethnography which includes ‘catching up, sharing, exploring, interacting and archiving’ and after analysing every single step I came to a conclusion that almost all of us who are not professional researchers do something related with digital research every day. Especially if you are a part of a fandom because you will most likely want to follow your idols on social media, watch the most recent interviews, keep up to date with the most popular hashtags, etc.

I have a feeling that doing digital ethnography is really difficult because, as the authors mention, the digital is constantly progressing and changing and the information that was on the internet yesterday might be completely different today. That is why it is called the ‘messy web’ and that is why a good researcher has to be always in the ‘researching process’, keeping up to date.

The text was divided I two sections and bits of theory were mixed with a story of a research project about social media and activism that researchers did in Barcelona. A layout like this made me confused because not only did I not fully find out about the Spanish research outcome but the meaning of digital ethnography or a ‘messy web’
was fully explained.digital

* Postill, J. and S. Pink in press 2012. Social media ethnography: the digital researcher in a messy web. Media International Australia

Researching the visual. Week 7 || 182MC

Making photographs as a part of a research project: Photo-documentation, photo-elicitation and photo-essays

As much as I admire photography, I did not think it was highly used in doing research nonetheless that there are even three main methods such as photo-documentation, photo-elicitation and photo-essays. Before reading I asked myself ‘How can a successful research be based on photographs?’ but apparently I am not the only one in doubt as besides people who say that ‘photographs are the evidence of the real’ there are still people who believe that ‘the interpretation of photos is always context-specific’ which I totally agree with.

At first glance the reading looked a bit scary because it is 30 pages of plain text but as soon I started reading it got me engaged because the writer did a great job introducing the readers with the main differences between all of the methods as each of the chapters are really descriptive and written in a very understandable language. However, I would prefer if the analysis about photo-documentation was a little bit more detailed because that one didn’t look as informative as the other two.

I found the chapter about photo-elicitation the most interesting because this way of research seemed very unusual (even though the text stated that it is a really widely used research method). As there is a full description of how to do a proper photo-elicitation research interview, it got me really curious and made me want to actually try it out as I have never even heard about this method before.

In conclusion, I would like to mention that I strongly agree that ‘images can present the things that words cannot’ and that pictures can make research a lot more informative/entertaining. However, these research methods require a lot of creativity of the researcher because you have to be able to see things from a slightly different perspective, notice details that might seem too ordinary to notice, and interpret casual things in a new way.

visual

*  Rose, G. (2007). “Making photographs as part of a research project: Photo-elicitation, photo-documentation and other uses of photos.” Visual Methodologies. London [2007] Sage Publ. 237-256.

 

Reading response. Week 5 || 180MC

This week’s reading is an article “In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective” by Hito Steyerl which, at the first glance, did not seem the most understandable. From the first read, it left me confused because the text is in some ways metaphoric and it can be understood both literally and interpreted.

In the text Hito Steyerl talks about the meaning of two binary oppositions such as the horizon and verticality. It is explained that our traditional sense of orientation has always been focused on one line which is the horizon line thus it has been a vital element for communication and understanding from a long time ago. Horizon suggests stability in an unstable situation. It acts as the light at the end of the tunnel because, back in the days, it was used for guiding and orientating in general. Taken as an example, Arabs and their technique of “sighting”/“shooting” the object and sailors using quadrant, astrolabe and sextant to guide them while on a ship.

The text explains how people’s orientation in space and understanding of space and time in general changed in time with modernity. It is not a secret that prompted by new technologies, our sense of orientation has changed drastically. Thanks to smart inventions and constant improvements, we see the world differently. We have the power to view the world from God’s perspective (as the author states, we have a “God’s eye”). This is all because of inventions such as GPS, drones, Google Maps, Google Earth, etc. which allow us appear in places without physically being there. We are at the point where we are not dependent on the linear perception anymore. The horizon does not necessarily exist because if we describe the horizon as a dividing line between earth and the sky, in a vertical perspective the horizon disappears.

In addition, the quick advancement of technology gives us the opportunity to see the world from different perspectives that would have been seen as impossible centuries ago. Taking 3D movies as an example. Thanks to multiple special effects, the viewer is no longer restricted by traditional understanding of space and time and can see different perspectives of reality which are not linear.

Hito Steyerl explains that when in a free fall, a person’s “sense of balance is disrupted”, the horizon either disappears, multiplies or shatters. There is nothing to feel besides the feeling of inversion when “people can sense themselves as being things” and vice versa. Therefore, the development of modernity puts us in a “free fall” where we don’t have to be attached to one horizon and one time/space and we are allowed to experiment.

*Steyerl, H. (2012) The Wretched Of The Screen. 1st edn. Berlin: Sternberg P.

 

Researching people. Week 6 || 182MC

The Great Interview: 25 Strategies for Studying People in Bed

First of all, I found the name of the article intriguing because it does not really explain a lot and it is not clear what the article is going to talk about. Before reading I wanted to find out if it is actually going to be a study about people in bed or if it is a twisted and smart metaphor. After getting into the text it became clear that getting in bed and sleeping with people is almost an equivalent of a successful genuine interview.

I found it interesting how the author used the metaphor of sleeping with an interviewee which he calls a ‘date’. At the very first pages it did not make much sense to me but then it became clear that in order to get the most honest answers and best interview you need to build trust and intimacy, you cannot jump right into it, gradually building a strong connection, making the interviewee trust you is a must, almost as if you were planning to get in bed with somebody. In the text it was nicely said that ‘Great interviewing is not pure sex; it’s a romantic-like dialogue that progressively moves through stages’.

It is not a secret that it is very difficult to become a good and successful interviewer because it is an acquired skill which takes a lot of effort and time to develop. As it was stated in the article, people are like nuts. They have their own protective shell which does not allow everybody and anybody to get to their core (inner personalities) thus it is not easy to make a person open up to you, be candid, honest and feel comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics especially if they are not your friends or family members and if you just met them a few minutes ago. The article suggests 25 tips on how to get a better interview outcome and how to ‘tame’ and interviewee and make them ‘crack’ the shell. I could say that the majority of the tips such as ‘Listen’, ‘Word the questions clearly’, ‘Be candid’, ‘Show respect’ are way too obvious and most of the people use them without even knowing but overall, the text was interesting and engaging.

In conclusion, interviewing is one of the most popular and effective research methods and I like how the author looked at it from a little bit different perspective, with a unique metaphor in mind. I love how he kept the symbolic meaning of ‘having sex with your interviewee’ throughout the whole article which got me rethinking what the text is actually about.

people

Hermanowicz, J. (2002). The Great Interview: 25 Strategies for Studying People in Bed. Qualitative Sociology, 25(4).

 

Reading response. Week 4 || 180MC

The reading is a chapter from Katherine Hayles’s book “How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis” and it discusses how digital media affects humanities. To be more exact, it looks into how students’ reading changed over the last decades.

The author is not biased and offers two points of view providing enough valid research evidence. On one hand, by looking at the research which shows that novel reading has increased she states that print reading can still be alluring. On the other hand, it is mentioned that the millennials do more digital reading than ever thus the reading skills have been declining since.

I agree that our way of reading has changed because of the rapidly evolving technologies and it is definitely taking over the print but that does not mean digital reading is evil by any means. I think it is the opposite. Even though it has affected the way our attention functions, we get distracted a lot easier than ever and we are in constant crave of continuous stimulation, technologies make reading quicker and more productive. It links to the part where Hayles explains a recent phenomenon called hyper reading which allows the reader to filter the text and move through a bunch of material to find the most relevant bits by “filtering by keywords, skimming, hyperlinking, “pecking” (pulling out a few items from a longer text), and fragmenting”.

I strongly believe that the main concern should not be how the digital reading is almost making print reading history. It should be about increasing reading/learning ability in general no matter the format of the text. I think it all depends on the person. Somebody might find it easier to read in a “traditional” way (printed text, with a pencil I their hand), some see hyper reading as a more productive technique. As it is sated in the text, ‘The two tracks, print and digital, run side by side’ which I totally agree.

The fact that millennials use less printed material to read does not mean that people read less in general. Nowadays, when technology is so advanced, the news not necessarily have to be written in a newspaper, a book does not have to be written on paper pages. In my opinion, the fact that one Kindle stores thousands of books, makes reading more accessible and convenient than ever. We have the accessibility to all of the information in a swipe of our finger but it is up to us to choose the type which will improve our literacy and knowledge in general.

*Hayles, Katherine. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis, 2012, pp. 55-68