Research Project Proposal

For our third and final BCM240 assignment we are required to create a digital research project for a real stakeholder organisation. We can choose any topic and any stakeholder we like, as long as they relate to media audience and it will explore the ways that media audience research and spatial research interact. The data found will then be presented through a creative platform.

After a recent trip to the movies, I began thinking about the change of cinema experience due to technology. As I hadn’t planned what I was going to see, I lined up in the regular line, but I was the only one in it. Next to me was the online booking line, which was filled with about 10 people. 12 months earlier I was in the opposite situation, I had booked online and was grateful, as the regular line was full and I was the only person waiting in mine. Not only had we discussed the Australian film industry in the BCM240 lecture and tutorial this week but this change interested me, and it is something I would like to explore. Therefore, I propose the following research question:

Should Australian cinemas, such as Greater Union introduce self-serve movie check in machines?

As movies becoming easily accessible online, there is a significant decrease in movie attendance. To combat this issue, cinemas need to ensure they are using a fast and easy system for customers, whist maintaining a profit. Airports, supermarkets and department stores are among the first organisations in Australia to take on this idea of ‘self-serve’. I would like to propose the idea that ‘self-serve’ check in machines be introduced to cinemas. Greater Union, Australia’s leading cinema company, would be an appropriate and likely interested stakeholder.

I would suggest conducting focus groups as a qualitative research method. I would be interested in speaking to people who go to the movies, to see whether they prefer booking their tickets in person or online. It would also be worthwhile interviewing people who do and don’t already use ‘self-serve’ checkout machines, to see whether they like the system or not, and whether they would be interested in seeing these machines at cinemas.

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. They use a variety of elements such as colour, shapes, fonts, sizes, and maps to convey information quickly and clearly. As there is likely to be a large amount of information, an infographic would be a perfect medium for presenting the research.

Here is a video by Fast Company explaining the benefits of creating an infographic.

Searching, Gathering, and Presenting: Media Made Easy

Data aggregation is a process where information and data is searched, gathered and presented in a report-based, summarised format (Janssen, 2014). While it does not provide much information, the most important aspects are given. As social media is becoming more dominant in our everyday lives, the traditional communication of news is dramatically changing. News is being aggregated across social media, establishing a new form of gathering and disseminating information.

Take for example Twitter. There is a limit of 140 characters therefore; users must be selective in how they choose to make a statement. Many newspapers tweet links to their stories and specifically write a tweet that intrigues the reader whilst giving details of the story. According to Johnson, we live in a tech fast world, where we seem to prefer to read a tweet than something in excessive detail. He describes this phenomenon as “ambient awareness” (2009).

With over 271 million active users on Twitter, it is hard enough deciding whom to follow, let alone process everything on your Twitter feed. This is where data aggregation steps in. Twitter aggregator and trend websites use formulas and methods to filter every tweet to basically determine what’s hot and what’s not. Retweets are one of the many ways users can determine if a tweet is popular and gaining attention. By connecting your twitter account to aggregation sites like Digg, can analyse your personal twitter feed and activity to determine when you should be alerted to a particular tweet. For example, if you follow lots of people, and a lot of them retweet a particular tweet, Digg will connect you to it. In doing so, you have the ability to find, read and share the best tweets for you.

Another example of data aggregation is Benard, a company that specialises in social curation and visualisation, who collects and gathers information through social media. Benard was chosen to create the official info-graphic for the worldwide, Social Media Week. Combining their efforts with companies such as Nokia and The Guardian, Benard aggregated and curated over 235,225 mentions for 12 cities across 4 continents.

“Our platform was built to serve as that middle layer which solves big social data issues surrounding aggregation and relevancy with easy plug-in-play interfaces that enable the creation of amazing user experiences for any agency, content management system or blogger. The true innovation is that you can now leverage social media on your terms, not the platform’s,” – Benard founder Vincent Mota.



The process of aggregating is not a new concept but it is definitely of value in the 21st century. Social media is becoming a part of our every day life, and we are receiving more information than ever before so like anything, organisation is the key to control and data aggregation is the key master.

Sources

Janssen, Cory 2014, Data Aggregation, Techopedia, viewed 21 September 2014, <http://www.techopedia.com/definition/14647/data-aggregation&gt;.

Johnson, Steven 2009, How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live, Time File, viewed 21 September 2014, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245672/mod_resource/content/1/Johnson%20-%20How%20twitter%20will%20change.pdf&gt;.

2012, ‘Benard Powers the “Social” in Social Media Week’, PRWeb Newswire, 22 February, viewed 21 September 2014, <http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9217428.htm&gt;.

Australians want Game of Thrones episodes BEFORE winter comes

The average person consumes approximately 15 hours of media each day. We are consumed by it; it is how we receive news, communicate, and are entertained, as well as many other things. But what if there was someone controlling what we see, and when we see it? This is known as media regulation and it is causing quite a stir.

Media regulation is defined, as is the control of mass media by governments and other bodies. It serves as a modern debate topic for the entire world, as it affects the majority of us. Strengths and weaknesses of media regulation can be argued, however it is very difficult to determine who is right.

Like many others I am a Game of Thrones fan, however I only joined the phenomena this year. I caught up on the first three seasons very quickly as a friend of mine had bought the box sets. I was extremely disappointed when I found out that she didn’t have the fourth season, as I wasn’t being released on DVD for another several months. I definitely couldn’t wait that long, so I asked around and eventually got my hands on a copy that had been downloaded online. The same friend that lent me the DVDs has never watched a downloaded episode. I would like to say that it’s because she’s against the illegal act and likes to stick by the law, but truthfully she doesn’t know where to find the episodes and feels that working with a disc is a lot easier. So even though she’s been a fan a lot longer than me, I’m up to date before her; this doesn’t really seem fair.

When you live in Australia, you’re not only far away from the rest of the world but you’re behind in a lot of media. If you have pay TV you will eventually get the latest episode of Game of Thrones, nonetheless after the US. For those who only have access to free to air TV, there is no way to watch the series until it is released on DVD, usually 6 months after the TV finale. Media analyst Steve Allen believes that piracy in Australia is likely to continue as 25 to 27 per cent, 2014). With Australia holding the highest capita of downloading the season 3 Game of Thrones finale, ahead of the US and UK, it is no wonder Australia has taken the lead in online piracy.

According to a study by the Australian Federal Against Copyright Theft, online piracy costs the Australian economy $1.37 billion in lost revenue in a year (Freri, 2011). In an attempt to control and fight online piracy, the Australian Government has recently put forward a discussion paper for public comments on the proposal of legislation, forcing Internet providers to block downloading website. According to the Governments plan, Pirate downloaders could receive warning letters followed later by access restrictions or fines” (2014). While this policy is generally opposed by Internet service providers and consumers groups, copyright holders would have the right to force ISPSs to block downloading sites under court order (Taylor, 2014).

While the Government is definitely trying, these are only plans and ideas. The problem is only getting bigger and more out of control; there seems no immediate solution. While I can see why online piracy is damaging and problematic, it feels as though we are left with no other choice, other than to remain constantly behind. An option many are not okay with. So as long as Australia remains at the back of the line, it seems we will continue to do (almost) anything to jump ahead.

NOTE: While the comic below takes place in the US it represents the struggle of Game of Thrones fane very well.

Sources

Freri, Marina 2011, ‘Piracy costs Australia $1.37 billion a year, claims AFACT’, Delimiter, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://delimiter.com.au/2011/02/17/piracy-costs-australia-1-37-billion-a-year-claims-afact/>.

Reynolds, Megan 2014, ‘Piracy: Australians lead the world for illegal downloads of Game of Thrones’, Mumbrella, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://mumbrella.com.au/australia-leads-way-illegal-downloads-game-thrones-219249>.

Shingles, Marlon 2013, ‘Internet Piracy: Why Australia Leads the Pack’, The Artifice, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://the-artifice.com/internet-piracy-australia/>.

Taylor, Rob 2014, ‘Australia Steps Up Fight Against Online Piracy’, The Wall Street Journal, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://online.wsj.com/articles/australia-steps-up-fight-against-online-piracy-1406800646>.

Competition is not so bad when there’s support on both sides

If you’re part of the smartphone community you’re well aware of the Apple vs. Android debate. Some are loyal to one company while others have switched between the two. But the reason for this competition comes down to the type of platform each phone type works on.

An open platform is a program or software in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge (Beal 2008). With an open platform, programmers can improve and further develop a code in a collaborative effort with the community. As a result a more useful and bug-free product is established, as there is little or no concern with propriety ownership or financial gain. Android runs on this mobile platform, allowing anyone and everyone to modify Android codes, as well as creating apps with no limitations. According to Daniel Roth, they make their money by “selling support for the system — security services, say, or email management” (2008).

On the other hand is the closed platform. There are restrictions in the usage, modification, copying or distributing of software. It is exclusive property of the developers or publishers and is not shared with the public for people to look at or change (Beal 2008). Jonathan Zittrain describes Apples closed system as a way to maintain control. For example, Apple users can only purchase apps through the App store. While anyone can make an iPhone app, Apple must approve it before the app is added to the database. Apple creator Steve Jobs felt this system made the iPhone more reliable and trustworthy.

“We define everything that is on the phone. You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work any more.” – Steve Jobs

While I can see why many people are against a closed platform system, for some it is more beneficial. In my case, I like having a smartphone, as it is everything I need in one place. However, as I am not a tech genius, I have no desire to change or develop any of the software myself. I have been a proud owner of an iPhone since 2010 and have no plans to stray from Apple. I trust that the people who create Apple codes know what they’re doing and have the best interests of the company in mind, so they will create something that works and consumers like myself will like.

I believe that while there remains to be a choice between open and closed platforms the competition between the iPhone and Android will continue. We are not locked into a certain platform, and there are no rules against switching between Apple’s closed system or the Androids open system. Everyone has their own opinion on which is better, but ultimately, the two companies are catering for everyone. Therefore, unless another competitor joins the fight, people will continue to buy both iPhones and Androids. While the companies may disagree, I see this competition as a healthy one, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Sources

Beal, Vangie 2008, Proprietary Software, Webopedia, viewed 10 September 2014, <http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/proprietary_software.html&gt;

Beal, Vangie 2008, What is Open Sourced Software?, Webopedia, viewed 10 September 2014, <http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Computer_Science/open_source.asp&gt;.

Roth, Daniel 2008, Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web, Wired, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://archive.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-07/ff_android?currentPage=all&gt;.

Zittrain, Jonathan 2010, A fight over freedom at Apple’s core, Financial Times, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/fcabc720-10fb-11df-9a9e-00144feab49a.html#axzz3DM3V7t2a&gt;.

98% of Us Are Multi-failing

As I sit doing my uni assignments, I have a ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ marathon going on the TV, Instagram is open on my phone, and my iPad is next to me, midway through level 125 (the most impossible level) on Candy Crush.

Multitasking at it’s finest…or maybe not as fine as I think.

I will admit, I’ve written about 3 sentences in the word document, I can’t remember any of the photos I’ve liked on Instagram, and I have no idea why Kim is crying. I’m clearly not completing any of my activities well, yet I continue to do it day after day. According to studies by the University of Utah, only 2% of people can successfully multitask (2012). So while you might like to think you can juggle your life will sipping a Martini, chances are you probably can’t.

Here is a multitasking test:

1) Spell aloud, letter by letter, “Jewelry is shiny” at the same time as you write your full name.

2) Spell aloud, letter-by-letter, “Jewelry is shiny” and then, after you are done with that, write your name.

If like me, you found this quite difficult then I’m sorry but you are not a multitasker. If you found it surprisingly easy then congratulations, you’re in the 2%! Maybe you can make a Facebook status about it while making a coffee and learning to juggle?!

If multitasking is “a person’s ability to do more than one thing at a time” and I clearly cannot do that, I began to wonder what was I doing earlier. After reading many articles, a statement by Aza Raskin stuck with me, “we cycle through tasks in quick succession” (2011). The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I wasn’t really doing any of those activities at once; I was just focusing on each individually for a very short amount of time.

The Multi-tasking Test, a research project by ABC Science and the University of Queensland, stated that the human brain cannot perform tasks at lightning speed like a computer, therefore it needs time to switch between tasks, comparing multitasking to channel surfing between television stations (2011). Multitasking gives the impression that you are completing a larger amount of activities in a shorter amount of time. The appeal is obvious. But as the researches and studies on multitasking are increasing, so is the idea that it may be more harmful than beneficial. A study by HP found that when a person was distracted by incoming calls or emails, their IQ dropped by 10 points, which is double the effects of smoking marijuana. By studying brain activity, researchers have found that we are unable to successfully focus when multitasking. While you may be doing lots of things, you aren’t doing any of them well. Some studies showed productivity dropping by 40% when multitasking.

It seems that focusing could reduce stress and make you more productive; therefore I am setting up my own multitasking or ‘speed swapping’ experiment. Next week I will write my next BCM240 blog post without multitasking. I will switch off all other distracting devices and set myself a deadline and compare it to my process this week. While I’m sure next weeks post will be completed a lot faster, there’s nothing like an inspirational (but cringe worthy) Instagram post to keep you going when you’re ready to give up! #motivation

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Sources

ABC Science, University of Queensland, 2011, What is multi-tasking?, Multitasking Test, viewed 11 September 2014, <http://www.multitaskingtest.net.au&gt;.

BBC News UK 2005, ‘Infomania’ worse than marijuana’, BBC News, 22 April, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4471607.stm&gt;.

Naish, John 2009, ‘Is multi-tasking bad for your brain? Experts reveal the hidden perils of juggling too many jobs’, Daily Mail Australia, 11 August, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1205669/Is-multi-tasking-bad-brain-Experts-reveal-hidden-perils-juggling-jobs.html&gt;.

Raskin, Aza 2011, Think You’re Good At Multitasking? Take These Tests, Fast Company, weblog post, 4 January, viewed 12 September 2014, < http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662976/think-youre-good-at-multitasking-take-these-tests&gt;.

Sundem, Garth 2012, ‘This Is Your Brain On Multitasking’, Psychology Today, 24 February, viewed 12 September 2014, <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-trust/201202/is-your-brain-multitasking&gt;.

Copy + Combine = Create?

According to the World International Property Organisation, intellectual property (IP) is creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Law protects it, by creating a balance between people’s innovative ideas and the interests of society to use their material. It offers recognition or financial profit to the owner when the work is used.

While IP encourages creativity and innovation in a fair way, it is being challenged by the “remix culture”. Amateur creators believe in their right to use existing works to create new and unique works. “The Internet has made it even easier to re-use and remix the existing store of knowledge and culture, producing a new dimension of creativity” (Fitzgerald & O’Brien, 2006, p. 1). However, these creators do not often have the legal right to create these remixes.

A product of the remix culture is mashups. These are a combination of content from a number of different sources to produce something new and creative (Fitzgerald & O’Brien, 2006, p. 1). Most common forms of mashups are videos and websites but there are many other types that can be found on the Internet. Take for example fan fiction. These are fictional stories written by fans that include characters and sometimes themes of television series, movies, and other creative works without authorisation from the original author. They are combined with original ideas and characters of the author to create a new story. There are websites dedicated to Harry Potter FanFiction, with thousands of stories essentially ‘copying’ J. K. Rowling’s characters and ideas. According to Ernest Chua’s Murdock University eLaw Journal, In Australia, fan fiction arguably is an infringement of copyright laws. However, using the ‘fair use’ defence, fan fiction can be identified as a review or criticism of the original work, which is legal (2007).

In Kirby Ferguson’s TED Talk, Embrace the remix; he argues that everything is remixing, a process of copying, transforming and combining. I think these are the basic elements of all creativity. I think everything is a remix, and I think this is a better way to conceive of creativity” (2012).

The rise of the Internet and digital technology has allowed for many people to prosper creatively by allowing them to be their own producers or publishers. While many people will continue to debate over copyright and remixing I agree with Ferguson, we encourage one another to be creative by feeding off each other’s ideas. I still think creative rights are important, but the Internet is a weird and wonderful place that has given us more opportunities than ever before, so the last thing we want to do is put a stop to it.

Sources:

Chua, E 2007, ‘Fan Fiction and Copyright; Mutually Exclusive, Coexist-able or Something Else-Considering Fan Fiction in Relation to the Economic/Utilitarian Theory of Copyright’, eLaw Journal, vol. 14, no. 215, pp. 215-232.

Ferguson, Kirby 2012, Embrace the remix, TED, viewed 6 September 2014, <https://www.ted.com/talks/kirby_ferguson_embrace_the_remix#&gt;.

O’Brien, D. S., & Fitzgerald, B. F. 2006, ‘Mashups, remixes and copyright law’, Internet Law Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 17-19.

2014, What is Intellectual Property?, World Intellectual Property Organisation, viewed 7 September 2014, <http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/&gt;.

The sneaky pic will make you or break you

I don’t know about you but one of my biggest and more ridiculous fears is being caught taking a sneaky pic. You know, when you see something hilarious and you HAVE to send a picture of it to your friend. So you take your phone out and pretend you its normal for you to be text holding your phone up in the air and after it’s too late and everyone is staring at you, you realise the flash was on.

While I’m sure I share this fear with many others, it is certainly one that has only existed in modern times. The smartphone has allowed us to capture a moment and send it to others in a matter of seconds and it seems we believe we can take pictures of anything and anyone. Everyone with a smartphone is a paparazzi and it seems we all go by the motto, “What they don’t know can’t hurt them.”

Child star, Cole Spouse has created an Instagram account @camera_ duels dedicated to catching people trying to capture a subtle pic of the ex-actor and obviously failing. So chances are if you think you’ve nailed the art of the sneaky pic, you’re probably wrong.

There are many debates on what constitutes as a ‘public space as there is no clear definition. An overall understanding is a place that is generally open and accessible by the public. “In Australia it is permitted to take a photo in any public place and use that photo or video for any non-commercial purpose” (White Hat, 2014). Technically you can photograph anyone as long as they are in a public space, but it still doesn’t seem ethical. It seems that the more we use our phones, the less ‘private space’ we truly have.

I picture it as everyone in his or her own individual bubble. While everyone has their own space, and uses their own device, our bubbles are clear. Therefore, everyone can see what each other’s doing. A ‘private space’ is identified as “the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs”. At the click of a finger, our phones are intruding these spaces. Smartphones have blurred the line between private and public spaces; under a false pretence that everyone is just anti-social. We might be hiding behind our phones, but we’re looking out at everyone.

Better Screens But Bigger Prices

I love watching movies and I usually watch one or two a week. As much as I enjoy the experience of going into a cinema to see the most recent flick to hit the screens, I only go about once every two months. With our access to movies online, it is much easier and cheaper for me to watch a movie on my laptop. Though with this week’s task asking us to go to a cinema to watch a movie, I was more than happy to participate. Myself and three other friends have been waiting to see ‘If I Stay’ since we saw the trailer on Facebook a few months ago, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to mix business and pleasure.

Urban planner Torsten Hägerstrand’s, established three categories of limitations that changed social planning. I reflected on these in my account of going to the movies. They include:

Capability – can I get there?

Coupling – can I get there at the right time?

Authority – am I allowed to be there?

Our initial decision was what type of cinema we wanted to see the movie in. None of us had been to gold class before and we all agreed to spend $28.00 for the extra comfort rather than the standard $16.50. We are all from the Sutherland shire and the closest gold class cinema is in Bondi Junction, so this made choosing the location easy. Gold class sessions are less frequent, therefore we only had three viewing times to choose from. We chose the 10am session rather than the 4pm or 7:15pm session as two of the girls had work in the afternoon. We decided one of us would drive; to save time and ensure we wouldn’t be late in case there were any delays with public transport.

As gold class has its own menu and bar with alcoholic beverages available, you must be 18+ or be accompanied by an adult to enter the gold class section. As all of us are over 18 this was not an issue. We opted to buy food from the regular movie stand, as it was significantly cheaper.

[Screen shot of seat selection at Events Cinema Gold Class, Bondi Junction]

[Screen shot of seat selection at Events Cinema Gold Class, Bondi Junction

As you can see in the picture above we chose the second last row in the middle section. As the seats are separated in twos, our group had to split up. Apart from us there were only 5 other people in the cinema. There are significantly less seats in gold class and the tickets cost more, therefore this was not very surprising. Nevertheless, we didn’t see anyone going into other cinemas. While Saturday morning may not be a popular time, there were still a lot of people shopping in the Bondi Westfield where the cinema is. Many articles agree that with the increase of online pirating, people are not even considering going to the movies. Movie ticket prices have increased so people are happier to see the same film for free if possible

As much as I enjoyed going to the movies, it is certainly more of a special occasion activity. As much as I prefer a movie screen to a laptop screen, it is too expensive to see movies regularly. I think for now, I will be sticking to movies at home. But on the rare chance I win the lotto, you’ll find me in gold class, once a week.