The Life of a Girl with a Mobile Phone

A few months ago, I uploaded a blog proposing an idea for a digital research task that I planned to conduct. It comes with great pleasure (and so much god damn relief) to have completed my project after a long month of work.

This short video (or digital narrative if you will) focuses on a university student by the name of Chloe that I studied using ethnographic research. The animated instaclip explores how Chloe interacts with her mobile device when studying, and how mobile phones, social media apps and other devices become distractions when completing work. Through observations and interviews, I gained valuable qualitative data that left me with a greater understanding of how students behave when mobile devices are present in study spaces.

The story-telling video focuses on media audience practices and is told from perspective of Chloe. It explores the elements of media, audience and place and the ways in which media practices and audience experiences are spatial in nature.

Media: Mobile phones
Audience: University students
Place: Study spaces

The first part of this video is an animated representation of Chloe in an average day of study. Towards the end of the video the results from the ethnographic research are shown, revealing the patterns in Chloe’s mobile usage habits when studying.

Explore the life of Chloe, as she shows you a day in the life of a university student. The short, animated video focuses on how Chloe interacts with her mobile phone when she is really meant to be studying. Will procrastination get the better of her? Watch and find out!

I hope you enjoy the video. Don’t forget to leave a comment below on how you use your mobile phone when studying (or perhaps you’re a good student and don’t use it at all).

Until next time,
Sophie.

5 Things I Learnt After Travelling to the Philippines

I’ve been to my fair share of tropical islands in my travels. Hawaii, New Caledonia, Vanuatu… But I had never been to a south-east Asian country, let alone to a place that spoke a language other than English. Travelling to the Philippines was a real eye-opener to me and a cultural experience that I will never forget.

I learnt a few things during my travels that I believe are extremely beneficial to anyone wanting to take a trip into Filipino territory.

  1. Everything in the Philippines is cheap as chips

Considering the Philippines is a third-world country, it makes sense that everything is dirt cheap. When travelling over to Manila I greatly over-estimated how much spending money I would need. I literally came back to Australia with more than half of the money I took with me. Everything is So. Damn. Cheap.

If a 3-course meal for less than $20 sounds like your kind of thing, then you need to visit the Philippines. You can get a feast for as little as 150 Pesos, the equivalent of $4 AUD. Generally meals at restaurants will set you back a maximum of $15 but if fast food is more your thing, be prepared to find the smallest coins in your wallet.

In terms of public transport, I probably wouldn’t recommend using anything except for Uber due to the fact that safety just isn’t a thing in the Philippines. However the cheapest form of transport is the infamous and eye-catching Jeepneys. A Jeepney is a small bus shaped vehicle with open windows and doors. A ride on one of these things will literally set you back 7 Australian cents.

collage-1

2. You will develop a deep hatred for rice

Every meal in the Philippines comes with rice. And if you’re not originally from an Asian country, this is totally out of the ordinary. Every you eat will come with rice without the need to ask for it. I mean every single meal. If you order fried chicken at a restaurant it is guaranteed to come with rice. Fish, with a side of rice. Pork, with a side of rice. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will all come with rice. Even a Big Mac at a Filipino McDonald’s comes with a rice patty. You will, without a doubt, not want to see rice ever again when you return home.

3. Spend as little time as possible in Manila

Manila is a great place to see if you want to experience the over-populated, fast-paced city it is.It is a great place to go if you want to explore the Spanish architecture, some of the greatest shopping malls, and amazing food markets. But if you are after relaxation, Manila is not the place for you. The heart of Manila is absolutely packed. It is literally the most densely populated city in the world.

You do not know the definition of traffic until you’ve visited Manila. A 5km drive can take up to 3 hours in peak traffic, and that is normal for Filipino locals. Road rules also aren’t obeyed. Filipino drivers do not pay attention to stop signs, traffic lights or lines in the road. Blinkers are not used. Instead furiously beeping the horn of your car indicates that you would like to merge lanes or turn at an intersection.

Alternatively I suggest travelling to one of the smaller islands surrounding the Philippines. They will be less populated, slow-paced and guaranteed to provide you with the opportunity for a relaxing holiday. Boracay, Cebu and Palawan are absolutely gorgeous. These islands are most suitable for tourists with lots of activities and site seeing locations. If picturesque, tropical islands are more your style, definitely check out these popular destinations.

collage-2

4. Don’t travel to the Philippines in July

July is literally the hottest month of the year for the Philippines. The minimum temperature each day is 30 degrees and is coupled with a guaranteed 100% humidity. Being the wet season, most days involve pouring rain and thunderstorms. However this does not mean the heat drops. If you do happen to visit the Philippines in July, be prepared to be dripping in sweat each and every day. Changing your shirt a few times a day is necessary if you happen to spend a lot of time outdoors, because it will end up soaked with perspiration. The sun is also guaranteed to give you a mighty fine burn if you do forget to apply sunscreen. Coming home as a lobster rather than having a slight tan isn’t exactly the best look.

5. You MUST try a traditional Filipino feast

If you have visited the Philippines and haven’t had a feast where you are required to eat with your hands, you are doing it wrong. I’m taking about a huge table covered with banana leaves with an entire roasted pig being the centerpiece. Of course it is customary to have rice with your meal but crab, fish, prawns, clams and sticky pork bites are also part of the banquet. Lechon (basically a giant roast pig), also known as suckling pig, is a national dish of the Philippines. It is generally prepared for special occasions and festivals and is a must-have if you travel to the Philippines.

collage-3

So there you have it, 5 things I learnt during my travels to the Philippines. Was travelling to the Philippines worth the money? Definitely. Would I go back there? 100%. Would I recommend it to a friend. Hell yes. It is definitely a travel experience I will never forget.

Have you travelled to the Philippines too? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear of your south-east Asian experiences.

Until next time,
Sophie.

 

 

How to survive: Living out of home

Living out of home sounds like a tough gig right? It shocked me the first time I learnt that my clothes don’t actually wash themselves, iron themselves and magically end up back in my room in a nice neat pile. And dishes don’t wash themselves either. What’s up with that!?

After living out of home for almost 3 years now (it’s amazing I’m still alive), I’ve definitely learnt a thing or two on how to pull through.

  1. Living in a share house is a good idea

Living in a share house can get pretty frustrating at times. Whether it’s that one roomie that plays his heavy metal tunes way past midnight, or the other one who only does their dishes once a fortnight, living with other people won’t be fine and dandy 24/7. But there is one massive upside to living with housemates, and that is saving on bills. Living in a share house means that bills will be cheaper as expenses will be split between you and your roomies. Does $80 a month for internet seem too pricey? No biggie, you and your flatmates will split the costs, meaning you won’t be spending a fortune on living costs.

2. Shopping for groceries can actually be cheap

One word; Aldi. Aldi is basically a supermarket heaven for people (like students) who don’t have a never ending budget to spend on food. Shopping at Aldi saves me a ridiculous amount of money. I can get away with spending $50 on food that will last me an entire fortnight. Buying food in bulk and freezing small portions saves you money in the long run. More food for less money, who could complain about that?

Another trick I’ve developed is doing my grocery shopping late at night. Shopping at Coles and Woolies past 8 o’clock = bulk discounts. Supermarkets greatly reduce the prices of food that may be expiring soon. This is the prime time for picking up some cheap snacks to eat over the next couple of days.

grocery

3. Having to do your own cleaning isn’t so bad

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your house doesn’t actually clean itself. But seriously, cleaning ain’t even that bad. I have developed a habit of cleaning my house whenever I find myself procrastinating. I can avoid studying and do something productive at the same time. By homework may not be completed but at least I have a clean house to procrastinate in. Procrasta-cleaning. It’s actually a thing.

But on a more serious note, if you do happen to live with roomies, chose a day where you can all chip in and do some housework. More helping hands = less work for you. Plus the job gets done in no time and you can retreat back to your room sooner for another Netflix binge session.

4. Your house may become the new hangout spot

If you happen to be the only one in your friendship group to have left the nest, chances are your place will become infiltrated with visitors in no time. Who would want to hang out at their parents house when you have your own place for your friends to trash? But really, all social events will now take place at your house. Need a place to have pre-drinks? It will be at your house. Want to have a movie night with your mates? It will be at your house. Want to have a nice dinner with your friends? It will be at your mate’s parents house because cooking kinda sucks right? Just get used to the fact that having your own place is totally awesome, and your friends think so too.

5. So. Much. Freedom.

The best thing I learn about living of home is that I now have so much damn freedom. Living out of home literally gives you the opportunity to do whatever you like. If you want to eat an entire packet of Tim Tams in one night and stay up until 4am googling Harambe memes, then you can do just that. You won’t have your parents nagging you to make your bed or clean the bombshell that is your bedroom. You can absolutely trash your room and leave it for a week and no one will even question you (as long as you keep the door closed).

freedom

So there you have it, just a few things I’ve learnt whilst living out of home. Do you have anything else to add to the survival list? Leave a comment down below!

Until next time,
Sophie.

 

Will I Die if I Don’t Use my Phone for 5 Minutes?

There aren’t many places these days where people aren’t allowed to use their phones (maybe church is an exception). But the use of mobile phones has just become a part of everyday life.

Waiting to walk across the road at the traffic lights? Why not check your phone.

Standing in line at the bank? Why not check your phone.

Waiting for the train to arrive? Once again, this seems like a pretty appropriate time to check your phone.

So this is exactly what I did when waiting at the doctors surgery last week. I sat down in the waiting area, glanced over at the pile of ridiculously outdated magazines placed on the table next to me, then proceeded to unlock my phone and scroll through Facebook. It wasn’t until a lady walking past caught my attention that I looked up and saw the sign pinned to the wall behind her. “Please refrain from using mobile devices in this area”. The picture of a mobile phone with a red cross through it right in front of my face. This form of media regulation started to worry me.

I immediately felt self-conscious and looked around me at the other people in the waiting room. A mum trying to settle her two young children. An elderly man watching the news on the waiting room TV. Another woman in her mid 30’s, reading an article on balcony gardening. No one else was on their phones. Was I just one of those stereotypical ‘young people’, constantly glued to my phone and ignoring the rules?

As I placed my phone back into my handbag and grabbed a magazine from 2004, I started to think why the use of phones would be banned in a doctors waiting room. I can understand how someone talking on the phone would be quite irritating, but why should I be banned from checking my Instagram whilst waiting for an appointment?

A frantic google search when I got home answered a few of my concerns:

  1. Current phones cause very little interference with medical equipment. Modern medical equipment is shielded so that phone interference does not affect the machines (Hammond 2013). Considering there is very little equipment of such in a doctor’s surgery, this is evidently not reason as to why phone use is banned.
  2. Taking photographs in a doctor’s surgery is a big no-no. According to the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Cellular Telephone and Other Wireless Communication Device Use Policy, taking photographs of of patients for non-clinical purposes is strictly prohibited (UNC School of Medicine 2016).
  3. Phone calls are another no-no in waiting rooms. Not only is it extremely annoying when someone decides to have a personal conversation at the top of their voice in a quiet space, but if the doctor is on a strict time schedule. If they have to wait for a patient just to finish their conversation about what casserole to have for dinner, it puts all of their appointments behind for the rest of the day.

My research still didn’t answer the question I had about not being able to play angry birds in the waiting room. Until I stumbled across an article on The Huffington Post site. According to Lisa Mirza Grotts (2014), phone use in the doctors surgery all comes down to etiquette. Mobile phone use is not necessarily restricted in waiting rooms, but not being halfway through updating your Facebook status when the doctor is calling your name is just common courtesy.

This type of media regulation purely exists to speed up the process of doctor-patient interactions and to reduce waiting times. Not because the world thinks young people are addicted to social media (not a proven fact, may still be true). But let’s face it, I probably can survive if I don’t check my phone for 20 minutes whilst waiting for a doctor to diagnose my sickness.

Until next time,
Sophie.

References:

Grotts, L. M. 2014, Doctor’s Office Etiquette: While You Wait, The Huffington Post, viewed 23 September 2016, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-mirza-grotts/doctors-office-etiquette_b_5102426.html&gt;.

Hammond, C 2013, Are Mobile Phones Dangerous in Hospitals?, BBC, viewed 23 September 2016, <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130513-can-you-use-phones-in-hospitals&gt;.

UNC School of Medicine 2016, October Information Security and Privacy Tip of the Month, University of North Carolina, viewed 23 September 2016, <https://www.med.unc.edu/&gt;.

 

 

 

Putting It To The Test

“Young people are always on their phones!” says every middle aged person ever, “They can’t even go five minutes without checking Facebook.”

In a recent study done by me (yes, I’m an expert) I found that there may be more truth to this statement than I had previously thought. I completely deny the statement every time I hear it, claiming I can survive perfectly fine with not checking a message or ignoring a notification. But that may not be the case for everyone.

Last week I took it upon myself to set up a small informal test to see what happens to someone’s attention in the presence of multiple media devices. At first I had a lot of difficulty deciding on how to actually conduct the test as all of my ideas were far too complicated to implement. Eventually I decided on something simple, yet effective, that would give me an indication of how individuals perform in the presence of both study material and mobile devices.

What: A texting test
Who: Me (conducting the test) and Chloe, a classmate (the subject in the experiment)
Why: To see how an individual responds in the presence of multiple media devices
How: By sending Facebook messages to Chloe whilst she is studying  to see how her attention changes

I chose to conduct the test one afternoon whilst studying in the University library with a classmate. Chloe was unaware that I was conducting the test, and this ensured that all her responses were genuine. We sat down in the quiet study area of the library in separate booths, which worked perfectly for the purpose of my experiment.

I saw my Chloe open a textbook, a word document, and an internet tab. Straight onto Facebook. She quickly checked messenger on her iPhone then placed it next to her laptop and began typing away at her study notes. I told her I was going to print off my own study notes and made my way over to the printers. This is when the test began. I sent a Facebook message to Chloe asking a general question about printing (so as to not make it seem so suss). Instantly the message came up as ‘seen’ and three dots appeared indicating Chloe was typing back to me. I waited a minute before replying and received a message back instantly. Again, I waited a few minutes before sending a message back to my classmate. Sure enough I received another reply within seconds (so much for studying, Chloe). This indicated to me that when in the presence of multiple media devices, the attention of my subject was diverted away from study as soon as social media became active. It also indicated that Facebook was a major distraction for Chloe.

Upon collecting my study notes and making my way back my to my study nook, I sat back down next to Chloe. I decided to give the experiment one more crack. This time instead of messaging Chloe, I decided to tag her in something on Facebook. Since my classmate was ‘busy studying’, I was under the assumption that the notification would not capture her attention. I found a funny post on Facebook and tagged Chloe in the comments. Not even a minute later I heard laughter to my left. Chloe had seen the post. A notification on my own Facebook indicated she had liked the post, a definite conformation that she had looked at the photo.

Overall, the results from my small test showed that when exposed to multiple media devices, the attention of a student studying is quickly diverted when other platforms become active. When exposed to a social media such as Facebook, Chloe’s attention was immediately turned away from studying.

So perhaps the middle aged people were right, maybe we really can’t go 5 minutes without checking Facebook.

Until next time,
Sophie.

 

Big Brain of Ideas

I always wonder how other people study. Do they scroll through Facebook with a textbook open near by like I do? Do they blast a ‘study motivation’ Spotify playlist in the background? Or do people actually disconnect themselves from the online world for a while. Is it even possible to study without checking your social media every 10 minutes?

These questions form the basis of my chosen topic for my digital narrative research project.

“How do students engage with personal mobile devices when studying?”

To provide me with a greater understanding of what a digital narrative is, I did some background reading. According to Chase (2016), a digital narrative combines photos, videos, sounds, music, animation, text and a narrative voice to create a story. A digital narrative does not necessarily need to include all of these things, although telling a story using multimedia is the core idea (Robin 2016).

In terms of my project proposal, I intend on engaging in ethnographic research to obtain my data. I aim to look into the study habits of students at university and the interaction they have with their mobile devices. I intend on collecting qualitative data that provides me with an insight into their social media habits, attention spans, tendency to check their phone whilst studying, and the duration of the study period.

study-is-an-art_o_4504413

I will be selecting a small pool of participants from my BCM240 class to take part in my research project. I aim of focusing my study on 10 students in total. I will be tracking the study habits of these students over a two week period and gathering qualitative  data via interviews, surveys and observations.

As the project is a digital narrative I will be creating a video that focuses on selected participants in their studying environment and how they interact with mobile devices and social media apps. The aim of the video is to capture students acting as they normally would when studying to determine how frequently attention is diverted and how often mobile devices are used. I will be including this video on my final project blog as well as other data I collect from the surveys, interviews and observations.

Engaging in this project will allow me to gain an understanding of how media practices and audience experiences are spatial in nature. It will provide me with an insight into a topic that is of great interest to me and generate a storytelling project that looks at media audience practice from the perspective of other students.

I intend on posting regular updates on how my project is progressing as well as commenting on any issues I may encounter and any changes I intend on making along the way. I still aim to provide the results of my findings even if my research project does not go to plan. Overall it will be a learning experience for me and provide me with a greater understanding of media practices and the experiences of the audience participating.

Until next time,
Sophie.

References:

Chase, D 2016, Digital Composition, Storytelling & Multimodal Literacy: What Is Digital Composition & Digital Literacy?, Stony Brook University Libraries, viewed 13 September 2016, <http://guides.library.stonybrook.edu/digital-storytelling&gt;.

Robin, B 2016, About Digital Storytelling, University of Houston, viewed 13 September 2016, <http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&gt;.

Phone Etiquette in Public

This week’s task in BCM240 was to take a photo of somebody using a mobile device in public. To be honest, I hadn’t really given the task much thought until I had my photo taken whilst eating lunch with a friend. My friend took the photo of me whilst I was looking down at my phone, completely unaware of the fact that it had happened. He then proceeded to post the photo of his Snapchat story, without my knowledge. He hadn’t mentioned he’d taken a photo of me until after the photo was posted, without me even seeing it, or allowing him to use it.

The first thing on my mind was that I had not given my friend permission to take that photo, but more importantly, why were we both on our phones whilst having lunch together?

yeah

I definitely did not ask for this. Attractive though, right?

The way we use public space has dramatically changed over the years, particularly due to the introduction of personal mobile devices. Public space is a place where we can also make use of our mobile devices to dive into our own private spaces, without needing to share that experience with the people around us. We can be active in both public and private spaces simultaneously by just opening up a social media app on our phones.

According to Habermas et al. (1989), the public sphere is a space where individuals can come together to openly discuss public opinions (Soules 2016). The private sphere on the other hand is one’s personal domain that is separate from the rest of the public eye (Habermas et al. 1989). Smart phones allow consumers to switch between these two spheres, without needing to alter their surroundings. It provides people with a shift between a virtual and physical world within a matter of milliseconds. And perhaps this notion of simplicity and ease of access to personal devices is the reason why both my friend and I were on our phones during lunch.

Whilst the photo that was taken of me allowed to to think about public and private media practice, I still did not allow my friend to take the photo in the first place. There are a few clear ethical barriers that had been crossed during this sneaky photo shoot. Firstly my friend did not ask for my permission to take the photo of me in the first place. Whilst it is perfectly legal to photograph somebody in a public place, it doesn’t mean it is ethical, and gaining consent before taking a photograph is a simple ethical guideline that is to be followed (Colberg 2013). Secondly, I did not give my permission for this photo to be posted in social media, which is my opinion is an even bigger no-no. Again, there are no laws that stop someone from taking a photo of you and uploading it online (LawStuff 2015). Speaking ethically, permission should be granted before doing so. However due to the introduction of smart phones and their constant in public spaces, this kind of this happens more often than not.

So the moral of this recount is, whilst it is perfectly fine to use your personal devices in a public space, always check with your friends before uploading hideous photos of them to your Snapchat story.

Until next time,
Sophie.

References:

Colberg, J 2013, The Ethics of Street Photography, Conscientious Extended, viewed 2 September 2016, <http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/the_ethics_of_street_photography/&gt;.

Habermas, J, Burger, T & Lawrence, F 1989, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, MIT Press, Massachusetts.

LawStuff 2015, Privacy (Online), LawStuff Australia, viewed 2 September 2016, <http://www.lawstuff.org.au/wa_law/topics/privacy#cst&gt;.

Soules, M 2016, Jurgen Habermas and the Public Sphere, Media-Studies.ca, viewed 2 September 2016, <http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/habermas.htm&gt;.