There is more than meets the eye.

It’s the little-malnourished girl that stares at you, it’s the little boy washed up on the shore. And it’s the mother and father holding their dying baby.

This is what we are confronted with when charities and media want to expose and prompt audiences, of the poverty around the globe.

The following images can be identified through the term ‘poverty porn‘. Poverty porn is “known as development porn or even famine porn, is any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause.” It is a strategy that causes us to think “What can I do to help”? We are left feeling conflicted whether to post and share these devastating image with the world or to donate “hey any amount will help”. However, it is a term used to exploit poverty.

It is these organisations that expose the worst of poverty, they highlight the misery and suffering. Promoting the ‘if’ and ‘when’, what happens if you do donate and what happens if you do not. Poverty porn maintains this idea that, third world countries are filled with misery and suffering.

However in the video above, it shows that some of these kids who live in the worst possible conditions are happy, they create positive outcomes for themselves. It is videos like these that expose an alternative perspective on poverty, while poverty is faced with suffering and heartache. There are slums throughout the world that aim to change their way of lives, they want their minority to progress.

In this TEDx talk, Erica Hangan is the co-founder of ‘Map Kibera’, an organisation that aims to empower these communities and put them on the map through open data, open mapping, citizen media and participatory processes. In the following video, Erica expresses how so many slums in huge cities are not identified on their maps, their aim using locals is to put the slum of Kibera on the map. And through this exploration, it is astounding to see a number of facilities that are crammed into this small place, and the economy these people have built for themselves.

 

In 2015 twitter users coined the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShows, it was platform young African’s were able to use to fightback against their ‘poverty stricken identity’. Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 12.51.50 PM.pngPhotos were posted using the hashtag of the beautiful landscapes, jobs, universities etc. attracting over 42,000 tweets. Each and every tweet was a pushed to break the African stereotype, another twitter user posted a photo collage of four photos. Each different from the other to emphasise that not all of Africa is the same, making the following statement “Africa is not a country, Africa is a continent made up of 56 countries. Africans do not all look alike. Africa is not defined by poverty. I don’t speak “African” because African is not a
language
“.

The objectification and exploitation of poverty through media is under scrutiny and empowers the wrong people. Such stereotypes portray societies in a negative way where these reputations can hold. An example of this is SBS documentary ‘Struggle Street‘, a  documentary depicting stereotypes of lower socio-economic suffering. 5dc837b8-36d5-4ccb-a23f-6c523a1e1ec9.jpeg

The series was designed to show the struggles and suffering of poverty in the western area of Mt Druitt, aiming to expose the ‘raw reality’ of a south-west suburb. SBS’s Marshall Heald said that “Struggle Street will seek to raise awareness and deepen our understanding of those of us in the community facing social and economic hardship through an honest reflection of what it’s like to be doing it tough in Australia today.” However the show enhanced the negative stereotype Mt Druitt had received, Threadgold argues that the show is “denigrating The undeserving poor, scapegoating and even pathologising them as figures of loathing, while completely ignoring the harsh structural economic realities that create such poverty in the first place.

Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali was “appalled” after seeing the first episode. “What I saw wasn’t a documentary, it was simply publicly-funded poverty porn“, after meeting with SBS management he expressed “With all the funding cuts in the local area with domestic violence and … the whole heap of great education facilities that are losing funding, to spend $1 million on this crap, it shouldn’t happen”.

This stereotype, we’re over it, and it shouldn’t happen and SBS has just taken the worst aspects of it and put it into a so-called documentary“.

Poverty porn exploits degrades and stereotypes a minority based on how the media gather their understanding and frame their portrayal of a minority. Who are we trying to empower, us or them?

Sources:

 

Without a selfie did it even happen?

First and foremost I am a self-proclaimed selfie taker, but hey when your outfit is on fleek who can resist? When I explained this weeks topic to both my friends and family I received an identical response, “Mim this is right down your alley”. Thanks, guysScreen Shot 2017-03-12 at 7.04.45 PM.png

The selfie is defined as being “a photographic object that initiates the transmission of human feeling in the form of a relationship (between photographer and photographed) … [It] is also a practice -a gesture that can send … (different messages to different individuals)“. It is predicted the average millennials 25,700 selfies in their lifetime, and it is predicted that on average 93 million selfies are taken each day worldwide. WOW.

The way selfies have been taken has changed dramatically over time. First beginning with self-painted portraits such as the famous Vincent Van Gogh, to now with the revolutionary smartphone.

As mobile technology has rapidly advanced, the action and quality of selfies have gotten easier and clearer. Renown Vampire Diaries queen Nina Dobrev demonstrates how the task of taking selfies has evolved, as new editions of phones have been introduced into society.

 

While technology has largely influenced the action of taking a selfie. The personal reasoning is another variable factor, often we take selfies to express or empower, show followers various aspects or experiences of life and lastly publicity. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are the prime selfie domain, currently, there are 292,485,07 postsscientists-have-announced-a-new-unit-to-accurately-measure-narcissism-the-selfie-per-hour.jpg on Instagram using the #selfie. How can you even prove that you went to the gym without
a ‘gelfie’ (gym selfie)?

Selfies have become a social epidemic.

Selfies are a way to connect yourself to your followers, they are intimate and can often highlight personal moral, values and emotion this can be described as experiencing “togetherness“, and the social and cultural context of the person. Lasen argues “that social media platforms are stages where users negotiate intimacy in public through self- disclosure “in a choreographic way”, where comments are useful to check other people’s reactions and affections“. Some can argue that the constant posting of selfies highlight narcissistic tendencies, and constant selfie takers are considered to be narcissists.

Another negative that arises from selfie taking, is the moral panic. Initially, moral panic stems from the mass media and has gradually been dived amongst the various platforms of social media. It is the idea that our followers cast a ‘make or break’ judgement on the selfies we post, the questions they may raise and what they perceive from our posts. The term ‘Selfiegate’ was coined by Bayum and Miltner, “it raised questions about “who takes selfies and under what circumstances“, an example would be Selfie Trend Put Into Perspective. Katrin Tiidenberg narrows down moral panic in two reasons:

However this is not always the case, selfies can be used and considered to be platforms for expression and empowerment. Various celebrities, minorities and everyday people have adopted this to create social media accounts that aim to help and inspire their followers.

In an interview with the ABC Australian model Steph Smith, explains that since gaining a

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.10.43 AM.pngfollowing on Instagram, followers are wanting to know more about her efforts in the area of health and wellbeing. Steph’s health and wellbeing blog is designed to promote a healthy way of living and highlights that this such lifestyle is not only lived by the ‘rich and famous’, Steph promotes various products and companies that she believes can have a profound impact in benefitting your overall wellbeing.

Selfies and their meaning and interpretation will forever be a topic of discussion. The act of taking a selfie, based on frequency and individual personality is once again narrowed down to both scientific findings and personal opinion. It is evident that there are many negatives regarding the concept of selfie taking, but there are many positives that have allowed individual create careers, inspire and given a path to expression and empowerment.

But hey, you do you!

Sources:

  • Senft, Theresa, and Nancy Baym. “Selfies Introduction ~ What Does The Selfie Say? Investigating A Global Phenomenon”. Ijoc.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
  • Miguel, Cristina. “Visual Intimacy On Social Media: From Selfies To The Co-Construction Of Intimacies Through Shared Pictures”. Social Media + Society 2.2 (2016): 205630511664170. Web.
  • Bonn, Scott. “Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?”. Psychology Today. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.
  • Hines, Nickolaus. “You Won’t Believe How Many People Have Died Taking Selfies Since 2014”. All That Is Interesting. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Mar. 2017.
  • “Katrin Tiidenberg: Selfies – Narcissism Or A Way Of Self Expression? / Tallinn University”. Tlu.ee. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
  • Cowan, Jane. “Millennials Of Melbourne: Steph Smith On Insta-Fame And Buying A House At 23”. ABC News. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.

 

The Final Whistle

“Attention involves the allocation of cognitive resources to deal with multiple inputs at once. Switching, screening, analysing and risk management are all part of normal cognitive processes” (Maloney, 2016). 

Space, place, audience and media are four components that individually affect your viewing experience. Adopting the participant ethnography research method, it allowed me to examine how these component effect others and also myself. This has been proven through my observations while watching the Premier League at a friends house, in my bedroom and at The Star.

Approaching the assessment, my preconceived ideas were that audiences and media would have the greatest impact while viewing the game. However, space and place played a large role in the way each individual enjoyed and focused on the game.

My bedroom

  • My attention span was low and media activity was high and constant.
  • Being alone I was not able to share the excitement of Arsenal scoring with anyone else
  • Watching the game in the comfort of my bed caused me to relax and fall asleep throughout the game unintentionally

My boyfriend’s house

  • Being surrounded by friends made the game enjoyable
  • Media use was average, as during halftime and pauses in the game we would all log onto social media and communicate with others regarding the game
  • ‘Soccer watching etiquette’ allowed each viewer to have a comfortable view of the game and all were mediated by these un-proclaimed rules

The Star – 24/7 Sports bar

  • Attention spans carried as a result of external components and surroundings e.g. alcohol and the crowds of people walking around the casino
  • Atmosphere enhanced the viewing experience, being surrounded by hundreds of strangers who share the same passion for the sport as you creates a welcoming community bond
  • As a result of the interactions with those around us, our media use was roughly 15% of the night
  • However, as a result of a ‘drunk’ spectator, it affected our viewing as a result of insults being taken a bit too far

It is evident how viewing the Premier League in three diverse settings can alter the enjoyment and engagement of the viewer. Furthermore, from partaking in this assessment it has allowed me to identify a range of avenues for exploration for future research. Examples of these would be:

  • How alcohol affects sports fans
  • How the Premier League can incorporate these online sports communities into their halftime commentary and interact with there fan baseArsenal-16-17-kit (1).jpg

Only to name a few. I think observing and researching these areas and sports fan habits are valuable for Premier League stakeholders, it will allow them to identify areas that fans around the world suggest to improve. Potentially changing and revamping the viewing experience all around the world, lessening the need or desire to be at Emirates rather enjoying the game from the comfort of the local pub or home couch.

While the project has come to an end, it definitely has taught me where and who to watch the games with.

Till next time, Up The Gunners!

References:

  • Maloney, S. (2016). Attention, Presence, Place.

Arsenal vs. Swansea

Since beginning the season Arsenal has had 7 wins leading the to second place on the EPL ladder, victory is sweet.

As week 8 of the EPL season was approaching, Arsenal announced that they would be arsenal_vs_swansea_250314.jpgwithout Giroud and Ramsey. However, this did not setback the team, as they took out Swansea in a 3-2 lead. Walcott scoring the first two goals, and Ozil finally stepping up the plate and perfectly executing a volley a great way to celebrate his 28th birthday.

This week’s game was viewed in the comfort of my very own bed, lonesome to say the least but worth it to see the boys fight till the end.

Watching Arsenal play is a favourite pastime of mine, however, what I have found is that the experience is not the same when watching with friends. While the company can often be annoying, it is the people and the atmosphere that create the ultimate viewing experience.IMG_6300.jpg The constant bickering of rivals and the tension as the players dribble the ball up to the goal for execution creates the suspense, and once they score the feeling of relief and happiness is indescribable.

This week was not as enjoyable as the last, while the game was neck-to-neck sitting in bed  alone removed the climax of the game. Listening to myself quietly chant and cheer as Walcott took out the first two goals of the game was just not the same.

Fans do not only connect to sports through stars and places but also through the communication and social currency it generates. Sports events are social gatherings where the supplementary events and experiences are often more important than the actual game. One of the fundamental advantages of social currency is that it appeals to the deeply rooted desire of people to be part of crowds. This factor is critical to the popularity of fan-zones, travelling to away games, viewing parties, sports-bars and – more recently – the dramatic ‘socialization’ of the sports fan.

Fan socialisation ultimately is what has a dominate influence on your viewing experience. I think this was proven correct in my sit in, my viewing habits in comparison to week 4 changed. For example, my media use increased by more than 50% in areas such as social media conversations and media activity. Like my male friends, I began to involve myself in online conversations with my friends and others from around the world. I began to notice that I was using the game almost as background noise while playing games such as 1010! and Candy Crush. My attention would shift to my laptop as the commentators and ground began to create suspense as either team’s were shifting closer to the goals. And due to the early hours of the morning, the comfort of my own bed at the best of times I would often fall asleep.

In the process of viewing this week’s game, I noticed that my movie habits crossed over. These examples are how my attention span and dynamic of my bedroom influence my viewing experience:

  •  The way I assemble my pillows in my bed
  • Positioning of my laptop
  • Every 10 minutes I would put my phone down and focus on the game
  • The process of checking social media: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and finally emails
  • I always eat/chew when there is no speaking or an ad break
  • Room must be dark apart from the laptop and phone

This lonesome viewing experience highlights how the company of an audience enhances the viewing experience. In my opinion, it adds to the atmosphere, making the game more enjoyable to watch. However, it has emphasised viewing habits and attention spans, by viewing the game alone I noticed that I had a constant habit or desire to be on my phone. From a research experiment conducted by Microsoft, it found that “Young respondents were more likely to display addiction-like behaviors when it came to their devices. For example, 77 percent of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” compared with only 10 percent of those over age 65. Out of the 18 to 24 age group, more than half admit to checking their phone every 30 minutes or less and over three-fourths used their portable devices while watching TV“. Furthermore, it intertwines the idea of personal devices in a public and private space, in this instance I was in a private space. However, due to my media activity across a range of various platforms, I was participating in public activity.the-new-retail-boundaries-private-vs-public-spaces-of-shopping-9-638.jpg

As a result of viewer habits during games, the EPL has adopted Twitter, Facebook and various other accounts. By doing so it integrates the viewing and social media experience together, therefore blurring this idea of public and private viewing habits.

This week’s viewing experience has taught me how media influences individuals watching experience. And also allowed me to value how good company is when watching one of your favourite sports.

Till next week, Up the Gunners!

Stranger Danger

Growing up did you ever attempt to attend a movie that you were old enough to see? Or parent.jpgfake your age just to be able to access a variety of social media platforms?

Well these restrictions can be identified as ‘media regulations’. Media regulation is the control or guidance of mass media by governments and other bodies. It not only monitors what certain age groups can and cannot access, it regulates where we can and cannot use media. For example in Australia it is illegal to use your mobile phone when driving, when working and when in the cinema.

While some think that media regulations can be an ‘inconvenience’, the Australian Government is updating media laws to adapt to an ever changing landscape.

“The Government has announced the most significant reforms to Australia’s media Media-regulation-MO-INFOGRAPHIC_v1B.JPGlaws in a generation, supporting the viability of our local organisations as they face increasing global competition in a rapidly changing digital landscape.”

With advancing technology and the rapid growth of the World Wide Web, we now have instant access to any content from around the world. As a result I think it is necessary for these restrictions to be enforced, particularly online.

The Internet is becoming a popular source of information and entertainment for children. Increasing numbers of schools are coming on-line and material on the Internet targeted at children is burgeoning. As with television, there is increasing community concern that young people are being exposed to pornographic and other inappropriate material such as aggressive marketing on the Internet.[82]Placing or possessing material on the Internet that infringes existing legislation regulating, for example, racial vilification or defamation may be a criminal offence. These laws are difficult to enforce as the originators of Internet material can rarely be identified.

The instantaneous nature of the internet is revolutionary, however it is becoming a common action that children are neglecting the age restrictions set by websites. For example when I signed up to Facebook, the minimum age was 16 and I was 14. Now social media services such as Facebook and Instagram now require the user to be at least 13-years old.

What is the problem with this but?

An article from the Daily Mail explains that a study in 2014 found that 59% of children are networking at the age of 10. A poll highlighted that 21% of children have posted negative comments and 43% have messaged strangers on social media. It is these statistics that should concern individuals, while developing an online presence is a social norm, at such a young age it diminishes the barrier between their public and personal life.

Furthermore Dr Richard Woolfson explains “children are gaining access to social media Cqs8yWPXYAAgHiE.jpgsites at a younger age, which could expose them to content, people or situations that are out of their depth and which they’re not emotionally prepared for“. It is evident that what younger generations are seeing on social media websites is increasingly influencing their daily lives.

Online presence can be altered to reflect yourself or to transform into an entire other being. The implications of children being on social media at such a young age is that they can  fall into the traps of strangers online. “The capacity for communications to be online, and yet under the radar, is something parents, teachers and policy-makers need to remain aware of“.

In 2014 an incident regarding online stranger danger occurred, where a 12-year-old girl had met and invited an unknown man to her house through online interaction. The platform that was used was the popular messaging app Kik, where the minimum sign up age is 17. A casual conversation had begun between the young girl and old man, he who had been pretending to be younger than his actual age of 32 and eventually led the man to her front-door. Investigators found that this was not the only platform the two were using and he was not the only man she was communicating with, Xbox live had been a popular communication platform for the young girl. Later that year in November Microsoft supplied a 30 day transcript of the girls conversations with strangers.

 

The offender was immediately jailed and charged, this incident has acted as a cautionary tale in Baltimore to warn children of the implications of their online behaviour.

Media regulation is vital in keeping all media users safe. Age restriction is important to limit young children, it is common that young children who are unaware of online stranger danger, cyberbullying and how permanent their actions are.

The rise of the gold fish

Whenever we see (…) appear at the end of a post on social medi, whats our common thought? “I can’t be bothered to read this….” Unless of course it is a topic that interests us. If a video is longer than the average 30 seconds our minds start to wander.goldfish2.jpg

A study from Microsoft Corporation has highlighted that as a result of the increased use of digital technology, it has made it difficult for individuals to focus shortening our attention span from twelve seconds down to eight.

“Consumers’s lives are increasingly digital – at work, home and everywhere in between. With news reduced to 140 characters and conversations condensed to emojis, how is this affecting the way [we] see and interact with the world?”

In 2014 Microsoft conducted a two part research project. The first was an online survey andmicrosoft-research-on-evolving-attention-spans-100585696-large.idge.jpg
game to test its participants attention span, respondents were divided into three groups based on their performances: low, medium and high attention. The second was neurological research, where participant brain activity was assessed as they interacted with different media and participated in a range of activities. Results highlighted that the main factors impacting attention were:

  • Media consumption
  • Social media usage
  • Technology adoption rate
  • Multi-screening behaviour

Living in the 21st century, it is becoming almost impossible to avoid using some form of technology. Susan Greenfield explains that our brains have the capacity to mirror or transform into what we are absorbing, the ‘personalisation of the brain’.

To test this theory I gathered my girlfriends for a girls night in. I decided that we were going to start the night with a game of Cards Against Humanity, however without any
alcohol. I wanted to test how long the girls would engage with the game before deciding to check their phone and give up. A 30 minute game found that:

  • Instantly minds started to wander
  • From start to end amongst 10 girls their phones were checked over 30 times
  • Messages were replied to at least 20times
  • 7 posts to social media sites were made
  • And 4 people complained

During this observation I noticed that, what was supposed to be a quick and easy game turned into a prolonging activity all because of our constant urge to check our devices.

After reading out their individual statistics it was safe to say that each and every one were in denial. “I’m not obsessed with my phone”, is the response I constantly received. Phone-Addiction1.jpeg

However, our constant use of technology is not only shortening our attention span. It can be said that we are suffering from “nomophobia(short for no-mobile-phone phobia). Symptoms can include feeling anxious or panicked when being away from your phone, and in the more severe cases feeling the vibrations of your phone when it is not ringing or receiving a notification.

After researching into these issues, I found that there were online sites where you could test whether you have an internet addiction and an attention span test. Have a try and feel free to comment your results!

Attention Span Test:

Addiction Tests:

Generations at war

Every generation has its own distinct characteristics, and the way each and every one has interacted with digital media vastly differs. It is said that older Gen Y’s and all of Gen X can be described as the ‘digital immigrants’, preferring TV over youtube. Whereas younger Gen Y’s and Gen Z can be considered ‘digital natives’, preferring to surf the social media world and pass time on Youtube.

As the more newer generations are growing up their abilities to interact and work online is becoming far more advanced. We are now in a world were connectivity is so easy and thereScreen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.54.40 AM.png is now a heavy reliance on ‘digital machines’.

As a result of our constant reliance on our devices, it is driving change in the media landscape. The changes are almost so instant and noticeable as people are cutting TV chords and instead now paying up to $14.99 a month for a premium and unlimited package on Netflix.

However it is not only the latest online streaming programs that are kissing the traditional television package goodbye, it is the younger generations interest in exploring TV shows, movies and sport from around the world. The interest no longer lies only in the local sporting events or national TV, rather interests are now wanting to explore on a global level.

My boyfriend, an avid TV show and movie watcher, sports fan and soccer fanatic (Arsenal to be exact). However his show/movie consumption is mostly done off the computer, a mixture of torrented TV shows ranging from Suits, The Walking Dead and Power and live streamed sports events. “Watching shows off the internet is easier and instant. I can get them a day earlier without the constant Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 12.46.02 PM.pngannoyance of pointless TV commercials”. However when Foxtel announced that they no longer will be showing all Live English Premier League games he was not impressed and his television consumption was cut more than half. “We can stream games but most of the time the streams are unclear and if you have Facebook there is no point waiting for the repeats because someone will have spoiled it,” he said. “It is good publicity for Optus and they are offering  more options than what Foxtel ever did, but for those of us who aren’t with Optus it is really annoying because we aren’t left with many secure options.”

From 1,677,000 Australian EPL watchers, “15% of EPL viewers switched broadband provider in the past 12 months, compared with 10% of all Australians 14+ with a fixed line service in their home. ”  “EPL viewers are also more likely than other fixed broadband customers to stream TV, movies or video via computer during an average four weeks: 44% compared with 38% of all people with a fixed-line internet connection at home.”

Going back to the interview I completed with my dad, he laughed when I asked if streaming shows or sporting events would be something he would consider. “Why would I want to stream anything and have to stare at a tiny computer screen? I go on the internet to check my emails and I watch my TV shows to relax on the lounge after a hard days work. If I had to be on the internet to watch TV I wouldn’t bother.” As you can tell he was not a fan of the ideas merging.

As ‘millennials‘ are advancing in technology, networks such as the EPL are now expanding 56VRLRFE_400x400.jpgtheir outreach to fans beyond games, live broadcasting and merchandising. They are also tackling social media to reach out to fans and gain a greater viewing. This can be seen through twitter @premierleague, where live updates and the latest news can be found.

It is said that traditional television may be seeing its last years, as a result of the internet and social media influence. However for people like my dad and many others, the internet isn’t as he described “the be all and end all”. Maybe traditional television won’t fade so quickly.