Trandall6’s Blog

Couldry, N. 2005, ‘The Extended Audience: Scanning the horizon’, in G. Marie (ed.), Media Audiences, Open University Press, Berkshire, pp. 184-220.

 

Tim Randall

 

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Hi this week I will be talking about the text The Extended audience by Nick Couldry. The author is primarily discussing how there is a different type of media audience than in the past in today’s media world. This is the result of new technologies that have led to different mediums and different locations of use. The author mentions the view of Abercrombe and Longhurst that there is now a “diffused” media audience which is always around some type of media. Furthermore Abercrombe and Longhurst argue that technology has lead to the power relationship of the media producer over the audience as being no longer relevant. While the author acknowledges that there has been a proliferation of the mediums and locations of media use he argues these power relationships remain. Therefore he proposes that we rename this period of audience activity that of “extended” audiences. While I agree with the author’s argument I feel to some extent the power of traditional media producers is slightly less in today’s media climate.

 

The author uses evidence to support the assertion. Firstly he uses a statement by the philosopher Foucault to support his argument that states that those that hold power in society do so by it being supported by the activities of everyday people. He argues this is how media institutions keep their position of power over today’s extended audience. I found this to be a very good point but it raises the issue of did the public give the media the power first or has the media convinced the public to support it. Furthermore the author argues that even today the media institutions still decide on what is considered news. I notice the same news across a vast number of different outlets so I agree that in this era that power remains. Moreover it is outlined that currently audiences make trips to film sites. The author argues this is because they enjoy the unusual experience of being at a place that they usually view from a distance, an example of an audience/producer distinction remaining. The author also discusses web cam technology and argues that even when using it the distinctions of celebrity producer and everyday audience member remain. While I find both of these points interesting I feel that further evidence is necessary to convince the reader of the thesis. Overall however I find the thesis logical and believable.

Castells, M 2005, The Network Society: A Cross Cultural perspective, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK.

 

Hi guys this week I will be talking about the Castells reading. The author is addressing the labelling of today’s society as belonging to the “information age”, exploring the horizontal or vertical organisation of society and the effect that communication technologies are having on society.

 

The author argues that we now live in a network society meaning our social structure consists of people communicating with technology. These networks consist of nodes, the things communicating such as a computer, and flows, the information travelling between the nodes. Previously people lived in a society based on vertical top down communication due to technological limitations. For example getting a message to someone hundreds of kilometres away would have been done by a runner, therefore it would have been practically beneficial to organise from a higher positioned centre. However when more advanced communication technology exists horizontal, network communication is the most efficient way of organising society as the changing of nodes as little effect on the network as a whole. The existence of these technologies in today’s society has the effect of the decentralisation for power. I have even witnessed this in my life time with the declining popularity of broadcast media as a result of the creation of technologies such as YouTube. Moreover I believe this raises questions of political implications.

 

The author explains that these networks influence geographical area as it now is defined by its role in the network. An example of this would be an American call centre in India. However the author argues that a networked society would not lead to a “multicultural melting pot”, explaining that people that belong to a certain group use this as their sense of identity and fight to emphasise their uniqueness despite belonging to the same network as others. I feel that this has negative consequences, for example an immigrant may come to Australia to be better positioned in the network and find themselves being discriminated against.

 

The author presents the main thesis towards the end of the text, which is that the overall culture of a networked society should consist of protocols of communication between these different groups within the network, as throughout history people have benefitted from communication with others. Furthermore it is explained that when people occupy the same social space that can not communicate with each other negative events arise. While I feel that the author argued the thesis quite convincingly I do not completely agree with it. I tend to lean more towards the melting pot theory of a networked society. This is because by emphasising differences the author’s communication aspirations could be difficult to achieve. Overall the fact that we are moving a horizontal network type of organisation never occurred to me and it is something that I find exciting.

H Jenkins 2006, Buying into American Idol, NYU Press, New York,.

 

Hi this week I will be talking about the text “Buying into American Idol”. The text begins by explaining that reality TV is the first major use of media convergence, which is when a group of previously separate media outlets are used for a common purpose. The American Idol series is used as an example of this as it contains albums, books, live events and internet material. Moreover material such as news reports keeps people interested when the show is not airing. This is described as being based around a theory of “affective economics”. This theory acknowledges the importance of fan communities that are attached to a certain product and attempts to profit off it, in American Idols case by shifting this attachment on to its sponsors. The text explains past model of audience engagement are outdated due to the proliferation of media distribution outlets that has divided viewers into small chunks rather than a singular viewing mass. I have noticed this manifested in the area of music where you see acts with niche followings such as heavy metal or country acts reaching the top of the charts. It outlines evidence that suggests that these fan communities are more likely participate in expression which is to pay attention to the program and its advertisements and inform others about it. I frequently find myself in conversations that I can not join into. I therefore later watch the program so I can.

 

Furthermore the text analyses the effects of such emotional investment that fans have. It explains Kevin Roberts’s theory of “lovemarks”, which is the love and respect one has for a brand. People with such feelings make far more purchases. I agree with this as I often see people with types of product that the brand is not associated with e.g. Harley Davidson T shirts. Loyalty gives this fan group a degree of power as the company must please this profitable group. In addition the text explains the different types of television viewers: zappers: people that scan through the channels until they find something that they like, casuals: those that watch specific programs although irregularly and loyals: the fans described above. American Idol has devised numerous means to turn zappers and fans into loyals such as explaining what happened in previous programs so people can easily catch up. I have personally been drawn into American Idol mid-season so I am aware that this works.

Thanks for reading.

 

Tim Randall

 

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Week 4 Reading: Moores Shaun, 2004 “The Doubling of Place: Electronic Media, Time-Space Arrangements and Social Relationships” in Couldry, N & McCarthy, A (Eds) MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age, London pp. 135-142.

 

Tim Randall

 

3265318

 

Hi.

This week I will be talking about the text “The doubling of space” by Shaun Moores. While reading the text I was left with the impression of the overall thesis being that time and place become pluralised through the electronic media. This is because an event occurs in the real location and again in the location that it is being broadcast to. This argues against a thinker mentioned, Meyowitz, who asserts that media is replacing geographic space during socialisation. Moores is arguing electronic media creates a second place of socialisation rather than replacing one place with another. Furthermore he asserts as a result people in contemporary society do not necessarily have social relationships within a geographic location. I tend to agree with Moores as I find the idea of media replacing physical socialisation as conflicting with my idea of what is natural human nature.

 

He gives examples of situations where these plural social spaces affect each other. The first being Princess Diana’s funeral. It is described as an example of how the broadcast Medias programming contributes to our daily routine and when this routine is disrupted by an event in the media social world, the real social world is disrupted, as people stayed home to watch the funeral. Many viewers simultaneously watching the same event therefore becomes another event. While in believe that broadcasting media due to its declining popularity contributes less to making daily routine I acknowledge that similar media events will continue to occur in a society so long as the media creates a community from people that are sporadically dispersed. Secondly internet chat rooms which are often described as occupying a separate social world are argued to be a reflection of the real world of the participants. This assertion is supported by the evidence that social structures such as male dominance are reflected in the online environment and the fake persona people use online are influenced by their lives in the real world. While I agree that one social world is affecting another I believe that the fake personas, etc. in chat rooms contribute to creating a social environment that has little resemblance to the real social world that influences it. Finally an example is given of a young woman who is having a private argument on her mobile phone to her boyfriend in a train carriage, a public place. Despite this occurring in public the other passengers consider it rude to appear to be listening. This is used as an example of how those in society have developed etiquette involving the plural spaces in which we socialise. I find this interesting as I was not aware that society, including myself had developed such etiquette subconsciously in relation to communication technology.

Hi

 

This week I will be discussing the text “Dailiness”. This text’s primary thesis, drastically summarised is that the media’s primary intention is to present to people something that they “care” about. Care is defined as something that we respond to and therefore use to create meaning about the world around us. The author explains that there are two factors that influence how the audience interprets a program. Firstly previous knowledge we have shapes our opinions, and furthermore what possible opinions can be derived from the text. I find this to be true as even while reading this text the opinions I already have influenced my perception of it and thus what appears in this blog.

 

The text looks into how broadcast media creates a sense of community among those geographically separate. The author argues that there are two worlds, one that we live in and one that is beyond our horizons that we are connected to through politics, the media, etc. The author argues that in contemporary society the world we live in offers us little we care about, while the world beyond us shown to us through the media does. This struck me personally as my lack of interest in high school led me to withdraw into a world of television and music. Moreover examples of how the media create a sense of community are given such as the Kings Christmas day address to England which contributes to a sense of national community and identity.

 

The text also analyses broadcast media’s effects on the perception of time. It is argued that broadcast media have contributed to a greater emphasis on days in society. While I believe that society in general does this (7 day week etc.), I acknowledge the author’s point that news broadcasts make each day seem full of events and important. Critics of the media have argued that it has contributed to a society in which the present is emphasised over the past and future. The author argues that this is untrue as the programs are being created in the past for the future. While I agree with this, from the audiences perspective there does seem to be an emphasis on the “now”.

 

In summary I feel that since the text was published (1996), or perhaps as part of a gradual process, broadcast media increasingly does not create something people “care” about. This could be the cause of the proliferation of media outlets such as cable TV and Youtube that offer more choice.

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Week 2: Disciplined and Disciplining co(a)gents: The remote control and the couch potato

 

Michael’s text is an analysis of the relationship between people and technology and how technology might structure our relationships with each other. It begins by describing the characteristics of a ‘couch potato’ a person that mindlessly watches television remaining as sedentary as possible. Personally this has been and still is my favourite type of recreation so the text overall made me feel a little self conscious.

 

He explains that an overall theme of modern western society is disembodiment that is finding ways to bypass the body to achieve the minds ends using technology. Such disembodiment is viewed as a type of progress. Strangely I had never considered this despite being surrounded with this aspiration my whole life. Moreover the author explains that while trying to move the brains will from the body on to technology often the technology ironically uses a different part of the body. For instance walking over to the television set is replaced by moving your fingers on to a remote control. Even when attempts to bypass the body are not subconscious such as a remote control that is activated by brain waves the body still comes involved by the need to fit a device to it. After reading this I realised that I can not think of any technology that does not do this.

 

The author also analyses how the remote control is involved in the social environment in the household and the overall view of couch potato culture in society. He links the use of the remote control to power using statistics that explain that the dominant male father figure in the family usually controls its use (I assume these statistics come from those of a conservative Western culture). However the fact this dominant figure controls the information coming to his family is noticeably absent. In addition he also explains that in society those of the couch potato subculture are often viewed as selfish, lazy individuals that contribute nothing to society. Furthermore he adds that some believe that couch potatoes watch TV rather than participate in cultural activities such as visiting art galleries. Personally I find this classist as it is simply valuing one person’s idea of entertainment as better than that of another.

 

Anyways I procrastinated and only had a short amount of time for this one so I hope that at least something written here can contribute to some discussion.

 

Tim Randall

 

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O’ Shaughnessy, M & Stadler, J 2005, “What do the Media do to us? Media and Society” Media and Society: An Introduction, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne Victoria, pp. 31-58.

 

By Tim Randall 3265318

 

The text “What do the Media do to us? Media and Society” appears to have the main aim of informing people of the world the media exists in and it’s role in it and arguing that the media has some influence on society. After reading the text I was overall surprised at the impact the media had on society. The text begins by giving an overview of today’s world which is described as existing in a state of rapid change, and inequality between social groups and inequality between the wealth of nations. The author argues that the populations of Western nations is kept content with these inequalities by implying that people have some control over their lives via the right to vote etc, and the media perpetuates this myth. I had never considered this and was shocked that the media has such level of control.

 

Furthermore the author argues that the media is controlled by those who mainly belong to the white middle class and male demographics and the media teaches us gender roles and cultures of various ethnic groups, our position in society. I consider this damaging as a child may witness a demographic they belong to being portrayed in a negative fashion therefore giving the child negative self view as well as creating or maintaining an unequal society.

 

The author also explains that the control of the media rests in the hand of a select few which is something I consider to be increasing false. For instance blogs and Youtube are increasing popular do it yourself media. I must acknowledge however that perhaps their existence is indicative of dissatisfaction with traditional media and a desire for more control.

 

It is also explored whether or not the media have an influence/affect society or if it simply is a reflection of it. The author argues that the media can have some influence such as turning a simple event, the Melbourne cup into one of national significance. However argues in more extreme cases such as violence the media probably does not play a role. A number of reasons are given including other influences in society however I consider the morality these other influences promote is given a higher priority in society than that in the media and this prevents any negative influence.

 

The author also introduces the issue of censorship in the media in order to prevent these negative consequences linking it to politics with conservatives wanting censorship to prevent negative effects and liberals believing that censorship deprives people of their rights. I personally agree with the liberals both for the author’s reason and because I feel that perhaps conservatives may censor images that they find contradict their sense of morality however those of another group in a pluralist society may not. This perpetuates a position of hegemony in society.

 

In summary I hope I raised some points that furthered our understanding in this area.

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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r

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