So, yes. I am talking about my media log again. I promise though, this really is the last one! Linking on from the second media log blog, ‘3 days and 15 pages later’ it is clear to say that I consume a lot of media but my question is why?
Dated audience theories such as the ‘hypodermic needle theory’ suggest that audiences are ‘passive’ in their media usage and focuses on what the media do to the audience.
So the question would not be why at all. It would in fact be what. And well, my answer to that is actually quite dull. I did nothing. I went about my normal life doing pretty much the same thing the next day.
The advert for Deadpool I paid attention to; What did I do? Nothing, over a month later I still haven’t seen the film.
After watching Tattoo Fixers, what did I do? I became a tattoo artist and started tattooing amazing designs on my friends. Well no, sorry, that didn’t happen (I wish).
My alarm playing an annoying tune at 7.30am; What did I do? Well, I woke up, turned it off and went back to sleep again… so does that mean that the media inject me with their ideas and thoughts and I automatically, passively believe them?
No, feel free to comment if you disagree, but I don’t think so. Not nowadays anyway, I feel society has become much more educated in relation to the media and if people want to let their friends tattoo them after having watched tattoo fixers once. Well that’s their fault.
So this brings me back to my question of why? And the theory of ‘uses and gratifications’, might just answer this for me. This theory suggests that the audience are actually active in media consumption and focuses on what audiences do with media.
Theorists came up with four main uses, consisting of Personal identity, Information, Escapism and Social Interaction (these are not the exact terms and differ in title from the link above however, this is how I have come to understand the categories and they mean exactly the same)
How do my findings relate to uses and gratifications then?
Personal Identity- I found this the hardest use to relate to my media use. But when you sit and really think about it a lot of media uses and shapes your identity. For example, in my three day log the use of wordpress and blogging is one way I use media to gratify my personal identity. It creates an online me as I write down my thoughts and converse with myself through the medium of writing.
Next up, Information- Although I didn’t watch the news or search for ongoing disasters. I did use/consume media that informed me of things. For example, in all of my university lectures and seminars during the three days, power point was used to teach us the information needed. Similarly, as briefly mentioned in log blog 2, the use of the app Shazam helped me gain information regarding the songs I was listening to on the radio.
Now, Escapism- Throughout the three days I used my mobile to scroll through social media as a way of escaping from the university work. It was a distraction from my reality and work I actually really needed to do. The fact that I listened to music when walking to and from places is also a use of media to gratify escapism, as mentioned also, during my journeys it stopped me from paying as much attention to the world around me.
And finally, Social interaction- The big one. Normally I would interact via text mainly but as explained I used Facebook Messenger instead A LOT to maintain relationships and interact with those not present at the time. Both of the times I consumed media with someone else were also to gratify interaction as we watched and then interacted and talked about the music video/programmes together whilst they were playing.
As it seems uses and gratifications is a theory that can be applied even now to media usage and to me it makes a lot more sense than the hypodermic needle theory. The thing is though, none of this explains why I used and consumed media alone most of the time.
New media, is supposed to connect everyone, as Marshall McLuhan theorised long ago we have become a ‘Global Village’ where everyone can experience anything and no-one is ever alone. Yet as shown in my media log, I have never been more alone.
As the Independent points out
“We live in nuclear family units, often living large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated.”
The fact that it is so easy to text your friend who lives upstairs rather than going to see her, I feel, really has altered the way we interact. In my log I would message the group chat whilst sat in my room alone, asking about peoples day rather than meeting up and actually socialising face to face.
An article in the guardian, ‘Social Networking: Failure to connect’ talks about how Facebook especially is making people lonely and even how the amount of calls to NSPCC regarding loneliness from 2005-2010 had nearly tripled.
What’s worse is that mobiles have made this even easier meaning we can isolate ourselves even when we are surrounded by others. The video below is something I recently watched after having read an article relating to ‘societies loneliness’. The article itself mentioned how
“Last weekend, I was watching television with a few friends, browsing the week’s most popular YouTube videos, when a piece in the comedy section called “I Forgot My Phone” caught my eye. As I was about to click play, however, a friend warned, “Oh, don’t watch that. I saw it yesterday, and it’s really sad.”
and it really is sad, take a look at the video and let me know your thoughts about technology isolating society.
So as this is my final media log blog, to conclude, I feel this assignment has shown me just how hard it is to log your daily media use. Because I tell you truthfully, it is extremely hard, especially doing it accurately! I have also learnt that I use and consume a lot more media than I originally thought but mainly for uses that gratify certain needs rather than just pointlessly using media.
However, it has also opened my eyes and shown me that my media use is somewhat a tad excessive as well as isolating me, whether that is by escaping from the world via music or ‘socialising’ alone.
Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to study someone else’s log and so I have not been able to compare how my media usage compares to others but if I were to complete this three day log again I feel it would be interesting to measure the differences between my own media usage as well as others my age on different university courses as well as those not at university and also identify if there would be a difference in media logs in relation to different age groups.
I also feel that if I were to do this again it would be interesting to log three days of media usage in different contexts. For example, rather than logging three consecutive days, choosing the days I log so that I could compare my media usage between a day I am at university, a day I am free and a day when I am with others.
So the three day log and blog is complete. I hope you enjoyed following my trail of thoughts, because I am sure there will be many more to follow as time progresses!