If you cannot define media, how do you log it?

Media diaries or logs are one way in which we can log everyday, daily media use, “Media logging literally refers to any kind of tracking or logging of media use” (Project VRM [online] 2011)

It was now my job to complete one for myself across a period of three days. This means I have to make a defining decision on what I will regard as media and as discussed in my previous blog, this is quite difficult. I mean, if you cannot define media, how are you supposed to log what media you use daily?

This brings me to the first question. What will I define as media in my log?

My first decision, advertising. The hardest decision because of course it is media; however, in my everyday life I don’t really pay attention to adverts unless it interests me or relates to something I have spoken about beforehand. Also, how would you log every single adverts? They are everywhere. On billboards, on buses, on vans, on TV, on the radio, as posters. The problem is yes, I may see all of these in a day but do I actually take any of the messages in, probably not. Adverts intentions are to inform but mainly to persuade. Therefore I have made the decision that I will only log adverts of which I pay attention to and remember. Meaning, they have either informed me of something or persuaded me in some way.

Next, the mobile. Unfortunately, I am one of the guilty and I do use my mobile a lot for pretty much everything. Whether I am chatting via text or messenger to a range of people or I am scrolling through Instagram or Facebook to pass away time; I would say I am on my phone for at least 50% of the day. I am not proud. Recording this is essential as I believe it is my main media use. However, I am expecting incorrect logging for this as I tend to flick from one app to another quite quickly as I receive messages. Therefore, I believe it will be hard to accurately log. Similarly, even after ‘stepping back’ in order to log my media use, with messaging being some sort of a habit, I feel it will be difficult to remember to log every single message and the time sent, although I will try to log them as accurately as possible.

Other media, such as radio and music, TV, Internet use etc. I believe will be quite easy to log. However, I will also apply the attention decision made for adverts in regards to these forms of media as well. For example, I would not log if I walked past a TV shop and a TV was playing a film which I happened to see for a matter of seconds.

So the next question to think about. How will I actually record my data?

With my mobile being on hand 24-7 with easy access to notes. I intend to record my data via this. Using the app to note down what media is being used, what time it started and if it is a small amount of time, (up to 4 minutes) then I will also note down how long I used it for. If it is used for a larger amount of time (5 minutes +) I will note down the finishing time instead. Although this way of recording my data is technically media use I will not be noting it within my log due to it not actually being a normal daily use.

Having thought about and planned my media log in more depth I am beginning to accept that this will be quite a challenging task. Not only will I have to step back and watch myself and the media I use but I will have to act and use media as I would on a normal day. This could present problems as I am actively thinking about my media usage, rather than passively using it. For this reason I expect to find that I will use media more than I think and also for longer than I think. I am looking forward to actually being able to see how much I do use media daily, especially in regards to my phone.

Feel free to comment your ideas and opinions, I’d love to hear about what you’ve done.

 

Project VRM (2011). Media Logging. [online]. Last updated 26 September. http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/projectvrm/Media_Logging

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What is Media?

During seminar 1 of media audiences we were asked to define media. Now this, is seemingly harder than you would expect. In your head you completely understand the term and what ‘media’ entails. Yet changing thoughts into words and creating a sentence which actually makes sense creates a difficult task.

Definitions from myself and the other students included “a form of mass communication revolving around technology”, “a form of expression”, “a platform for communicating in various forms” etc. But yet even after writing them ourselves all of us confirmed that these weren’t actually correct or anywhere near the thoughts in our heads.

The problem is that as soon as your write something down or try to define it, it creates limitations. Media as a thought has basically no limits. This possibly suggests why you could argue that every definition is incorrect in some way or another.

Media is not only a way of communicating through technology but it is inclusive of many different platforms. This therefore implies the range of different technology involved; including the internet, which can then split into different genres including: social media, online shopping, online advertising etc. All these can then be split again and again until you reach singular websites. However, it could be argued that you can split this even further into pages such as the home page, the about page etc and so on and so forth. All of this is media, every single bit and really the amount of technology involved with and within the media has no limits, someone will always come up with a different type of technology that could be classed as media.

Another limitation included within a few of the definitions (some are mentioned above) was the fact that media is a mass communication. Is it? If you’re classing every single little part of media you can think of as one, then yes, I suppose you can class it mass because everyone in the world is somehow involved with some sort of media. If you’re classing media as technology such as TV then again yes, it could be classed as mass because a lot of people consume television. However, if you really think about it, not every part of media is mass communication. What about punk radio or TV shows like songs of praise? They are part of media are they not? Or do they not count because they do not have a mass audience?

There are so many other complications with defining media. That is what makes it such a difficult task. So, what is media?

 

Please feel free to comment, I will be interested to see if anyone believes they can define what media actually is!