The Saviour, And Those Who Need Saving?

Poverty porn can be described as the media exploiting the poor in order to derive sympathy from the audience and furthermore, charitable donations. But when analysing this concept; it entails graphic and vulnerable content. Would you be okay with someone trying to take photographs of you, or follow you around all day, whilst you’re in your most vulnerable state? Because that is how I would imagine it to be, I would feel objectified. But it is this exploitation that brings awareness to those who can possibly make a difference.

Is poverty porn empowering the privileged whilst exploiting the poor? There are two sides to the discussion on poverty porn; that it exploits the poor in their vulnerable state, and, that it sheds light on what needs to be known in order to make a difference.

The saviour, and those who need saving.

Considering that “Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day”, it can be conflicting for those who are privileged enough to decide where to delegate their charity. This is causing mass competition for charities to be the in support of ‘the poorest’ in order to get donations. Because essentially, that’s what they are trying to tell you, they produce their most crippling poverty porn in order to convince you that their cause is the most just, and that you are donating to the one who need it most. But even still, is this right? Is it morally right to convince an audience that your cause is most deserving even if its not? And even after all this work that has been done by organisations dedicated to helping the poor, “the data, released ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, shows the gap between richest and poorest continues to widen.”

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If we were to analyse this instance of poverty porn, would you feel as though its true? Is it just? Two seemingly foreign photographers, capturing the vulnerability of poverty… As if you wouldn’t feel like an object? But the other side of the discussion argues that this is a necessary evil, and that in order to make a slow and consistent change, this is the harsh reality that we need.

I am not saying that poverty porn is all bad; yes it exploits tho poor and shows the privileged the worst side of the less fortunate, but if the privileged are never informed of the conditions and state of global poverty, then would they chose to help? Would they feel the need to help if they weren’t confronted with this kind of sympathy? It is this sympathy though, that is causing poverty porn to get more vulnerable and intrusive.

These kinds of charities evoke sympathy with their poverty porn, and this sympathy is what compels donations, making the rich feel better about themselves for donating money, as though they are a saviour and the poor are those who need saving.

Yes, poverty porn exploits the poor to the media, but until a dramatic and powerful solution is conducted, then what other choice do we have, is it not better to be aware and making small contributions than to be oblivious or for the problem to be hidden. There is much dispute over the concept of poverty porn, but the solution to poverty is not going to happen over night, and without that change, what else could be expected? “The world’s 62 richest people now own as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of the global population”, this statistic is crushing, but its this horror that implores devotion and help towards those who are in need.

Of course, if the option was there to end this exploitation, I am sure we would take it; but poverty is devastatingly real and enormous, there is no quick nor easy solution to bring an end to suffering.

 

References:

Beresford, P 2016, ‘Presenting welfare reform: poverty porn, telling sad stories or achieving change?’, Disability & Society, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 421-425. Available from: 10.1080/09687599.2016.1173419. (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Shah, 2013, “Poverty Facts and Stats”, Global Issues, Available From: < http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Temperton, 2016, “The world’s 3.6 billion poorest people are getting poorer”, Wired, Available From: < http://www.wired.co.uk/article/global-poverty-oxfam-world-economic-forum > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

 

Emaily, 2014, “POVERTY PORN – EMPOWERING THE WRONG HERO”, Remedial Criticism, Available From: < https://remedialcriticism.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/poverty-porn-empowering-the-wrong-hero/ > (Viewed 28 March 2017)

“But First, Let Me Take A Selfie”

“Popularly regarded as a shallow expression of online narcissism, the selfie is both adored and reviled; yet it flourishes as one of the most effective outlets for self-definition.” (Murray, 2015)

Selfie’ – “a photograph taken with a smartphone or other digital camera by a person who is also in the photograph, especially for posting on a social-media website.”

Selfies are such a controversial topic amongst mainstream media celebrities, and their effects are increasingly becoming more of a conversation; would one associate the selfie with positive self-esteem, or narcissism?

How would you differentiate the selfie, to the self-portrait? In a sense, the selfie is the self-portrait of this era and technology; but no one thought that Van Gogh [Self-Portrait, 1889] was a narcissistic attention seeker. So why is it that on one hand, social media promotes self-love, empowerment, and confidence, but on the other hand accuses people who take selfies as narcissistic attention seekers?

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I know that whenever I would post a selfie on Instagram, it takes a lot of courage, because I know that there is that one half of the internet that associates selfies with attention seeking narcissists; but it makes me feel good whenever people ‘like’ the photo; it empowers me and gives me confidence.

So which is it? Am I a narcissist or empowered?

Halperna et al (2016) discuss that “narcissist individuals take selfies more frequently over time, this increase in selfie production raises subsequent levels of narcissism.” So does this mean that selfies okay as long as there’s not an excessive and frequent amount of selfie taking and posting? Or is it that every selfie that you take increases narcissistic tendencies? I find this finding conflicting; there are many who might relate and agree with this statement, but from personal experience, some of the most selfless and least self absorbed people I know, still take the occasional selfie.

But there are two sides to a selfie, and it would be unfair to call everyone who took selfies as attention seeking because it would be fair to say that most people who have the ability (own a camera) to take a selfie have done so. So how is it even fair that half of a culture can be judgmental towards something harmless that they have probably done?

On one hand “women’s experiences of their bodies change through interactions, sense of community and taking and sharing selfies”, and it is this opinion that enforces the positivity that selfies and self esteem can bring to a community. It seems that social media is divided on this issue, there tends to be a very blurry line in between self-esteem and narcissism. Self esteem relates to our values, personal accomplishments and care that we show towards others; a positive self love! “Self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem grow out of knowing yourself very well”.

Narcissism contrasts to this as an extensive negative version; narcissism is based on fear of weakness, and unhealthy focus on ones self. “Narcissistic people crave attention and admiration in order to ward off feelings of shame and to disguise a sense of inner defect. In other words, they have no authentic self-esteem and look to others to provide a substitute for it.” (Burgo, 2012)

Although some may be looking for attention and a way to ‘disguise a sense of inner defect’, that is not what the selfie represents, Murray (2015) asserts that selfies associate to self-definition, and self-exploration. Are we being criticized for attempting a search for ones self, and confidence within that? Although selfies may have a hidden negative effect for some; it has been demonstrated through the discussed studies, and enforced by experience, that selfies are majority a positive phenomenon.

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References:

Seidman, 2015, “What is the real link between Selfies and Narcissism?”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/close-encounters/201508/what-is-the-real-link-between-selfies-and-narcissism > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Gogh, 1889, “Self-Portrait”, Wikipedia, Available From < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Gogh_self-portrait_(1889)#/media/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

n.a, n.d, Dictionary.com, Available From: < http://www.dictionary.com/browse/selfie > (Viewed 15th March 2017)

Murray, 2015, Consumption Markets & Culture, Volume 18, 2015 – Issue 6: Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference, “Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media”, Page 490-516, Available From: < http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10253866.2015.1052967?scroll=top&needAccess=true > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Burgo, 2012, “Narcissism vs. Authentic Self-Esteem”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shame/201212/narcissism-vs-authentic-self-esteem > (Viewed 16th March 2017)

Katrin Tiidenberg, Edgar Gómez Cruz, 2015, “Selfies, Image and the Re-making of the Body”, Body & Society, Vol 21, Issue 4, pp. 77 – 102 (Viewed 20th March 2017)

Firestone, 2012, “Self-Esteem Versus Narcissism”, Psychology Today, Available From: < https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201206/self-esteem-versus-narcissism > (Viewed 20th March 2017)

Daniel Halperna, Sebastián Valenzuelaa, James E. Katzb, 2016, “Selfie-ists” or “Narci-selfiers”?: A cross-lagged panel analysis of selfie taking and narcissism”, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 97, Pages 98–101 (Viewed 20th March 2017)

What’s Your Favourite #foodporn?

Since the food industry has been introduced to social media, it has been morphed and experienced incredible growth. This online food cyber culture has been investigated, but I believe is still undervalued for potential.

My digital artefact will investigate the realms of #foodporn and the cyber culture of the food industry in relation to genre popularity, and success.

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To further explore the digital artefact and aspects of food cyber culture, look into the Prezi  link below for further information!

http://prezi.com/1blpqi5-sghx/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Reflection

Many of the themes and ideas discussed in BCM240 (media, audience, place) require further study and understanding than only that of the classes and the readings. In order to discover my own philosophies and opinion on each individual topic, I utilized further articles to expand my knowledge. Some interesting information that assisted me to grow as a blogger and researcher was the research method of ethnography. Toombs (2014) article specifically helped me to understand the concept of participation in research; and how ethnography can lead to more results than simply qualitative data. Couldry has also been a consistent reference for media research and blogging experience, as his common discussion includes the importance of media theory and practice. His discussions have played a role in assisting and further developing my blogging skills. Lastly, Napoli (an independent reference) has contributed consistently to my understanding of the audience in the media environment.

During the combined course, skills were learnt and developed throughout the topics; television and media spaces, media and ethnography, Internet and the family home, cinemas and changing experiences, personal devices and public spaces, the value of media attention, and regulating media for audiences. Combined with the assistance from readings and independent references, my knowledge and understanding of media, audience, and place has been enlightened and continued to flourish.

Multiple research methods such as interviewing, accompanied by ethnography also helped with understanding other perspectives, often identifying more relevant features than on our own. Looking at the introduction of the television and the Internet, my grandmother offered interesting insight to an experience that cannot have been something that I could have just Googled online.

The ethnographic process came into play in almost every blog; we would immerse ourselves in an experience and the results would be our personal outcomes. When assessing the cinema experience, Hagerstrand’s constraints came into action much more than I had anticipated. I had previously acknowledged that the cinema had limitations (that being my reason for not attending so often), but his specific constraints had not yet been identified to me. In this case, Hagerstrand’s constraints helped me to identify my reasons for changing my film experience from the cinema, to other platforms such at ‘Netflix’.

Conducting our own experiments was particularly interesting, quite often results were not what they were predicted to be. Looking back to the attention experiment; I thought that I would accurately predict my families behavior, but often things were discovered that would not have previously been recognized.

Many of the topics were intriguing and continued to bring further examples and information to light. But in order for my blog to reach its potential with audience reader engagement, certain methods took place. Relevant tags are implemented onto every blog post to ensure maximum coverage to those interested. I also incorporated the use of links to twitter to expand my audience reach to additional media platforms.

To engage with other bloggers, I understood it essential to communicate through comments and likes to offer further support and constructive criticism. If I have further relevant information to offer in support; then my engagement with another blogger can only be beneficial to both parties. I always appreciate when another blogger comments positive feedback on my work; it allows an interconnection between the subject, we can learn and grow together.

My main feedback from task 1 suggested that I look at the design and overall impression of my blog, I will admit that I had put much more effort into the blogs content than appearance. Specifically I was advised to engage more with the ‘About’ component of my blog. I had never been to tech savvy with WordPress and to be honest, I had never known that I had the ‘About’ section on my blog. I had seen it on other blogs but assumed it to be an optional extra. I attempted to personalize it and keep it interesting to my readers. I included my subject details, my University, and a fact that I had found to be interesting; “Bubble wrap was originally intended to be wallpaper”. I had understood this fact to be interesting, and hopefully engaging to my readers; irrelevant but intriguing. I also included a picture, of a cockatiel and a look alike banana; this photo was funny and hopefully offered humour to my audiences. Additionally feedback included a general personalization of my blog, so along with the picture of the cockatiel I included some information about some pet cockatiels that I used to have.

I enjoyed the blogging process, it allows freedom, time and space to answer and discuss questions. Almost as if we were just discussing in a tutorial; however I know that people do get anxious to offer differing opinions to a diverse class. The blogs allow us to take our own spin on a topic, ask our own questions, and make a discussion personal. I enjoyed taking my own spin on different ideas, the freedom to tackle themes in a personal manner was helpful and allows supportive constructive criticism between peers and different audiences. It was a graceful experience to be able to branch off on our own to discover our own independent sources. Use of independent sources allowed a broader scope with every class discussion to make it my own. Use of provided and independent sources combined, allowed for a more in depth and report and discussion.

Although, I will admit that I found some instruction to be complicated and a struggle to manage and follow. Additional specifics would have been useful to many bloggers I believe. But even with challenges, it has been helpful to engage with peers and fellow bloggers in reaching an understanding.

 

References:

Couldry, N 2004, ‘Theorising Media as Practice’, Social Semiotics, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 115-132.

 

Ellegård, K, & Svedin, U 2012, ‘Torsten Hägerstrand’s time-geography as the cradle of the activity approach in transport geography’, Journal of Transport Geography, vol. 23, no. Special Issue on Time Geography, pp. 17-25.

 

Napoli, P 2009, ‘Revisiting “Mass Communication” and the “Work” of the Audience in the New Media Environment’,Conference Papers — International Communication Association, pp. 1-33.

Toombs, 2014, Falling in: how ethnography happened to me and what I’ve learned from it, Available From: < http://ethnographymatters.net/blog/2014/03/17/falling-in/ >

BCM240 Digital Project Proposal

Throughout the entirety of my Media Audience Place subject, what has really suck with me and continued to intrigue me, has been the increased use of phone usage. I plan to focus my project onto the amount, why, and how that the generations that have grown up alongside the sudden increase in technology (generation X and generation Y) use phones, in comparison to that of a generation that has had to learn to adapt afterwards (Baby Boomers). My reasoning for looking at this specific subject is because I find it interesting, from observing at my parents behavior with technology, that some have learned to adapt to the increased amount of technology, and some have not. What is furthermore notable is the use of specifically social media accounts in Baby Boomers, and why some may be selective about platforms that are considered such a norm.

Through this research I believe that evidence of a storyline between someones childhood and how they are brought up, will become increasingly apparent. Over this study, I plan to incorporate the use of qualitative, ethnographic and narrative primary research, alongside with the collaboration of secondary studies. So far through minor research and brainstorming, I plan to present my project and findings over the media platform Soundcloud. I will present in the form of a series of podcasts hopefully accompanied with a photograph relevant to each podcast topic. Blog posts would have been a standard avenue to tackle with this topic and research type, but I believe that with the use of Soundcloud I will be able to capture a more personal and authentic study which can have the option to include recorded interviews. Through my experience, it is much easier to engage with a vocal narrative, and allows excessive emphasis through different vocal techniques such as tone; furthermore, through editing I will be able to add in relevant affects.

Considering the entirety of this project, so far I am still at the beginning, and cannot predict changes and alterations that I may make in the future to better suit the study and production. But for where I am at now, I plan to focus on four specific questions that can go into four podcasts (allowing that more podcasts will be added if an exceeded amount of data is accumulated for a specific question). But for limitations on my study; I will present no more than ten podcast episodes, roughly 5-7 minutes in length.

My podcast questions and topics will include:

  • Perceptions and interviews from Baby Boomers and Generation Y, on how effectively they believe that they have adapted to technology (specifically smartphone and social media usage) and any issues they encounter. Furthermore, how they think the story of their childhood has had an impact on their use of technology and social media.
  • Baby Boomers use of social media. What they use it for, is there a difference in gender or demographics in relation to use, did they feel an obligation to be involved with social media platforms? (This topic will include a survey)
  • An ethnographic (consented) study will be conducted on individuals from both generations, on how effectively each can tolerate not having access to technology or social media for a day.
  • Lastly, over the period of an hour, I will monitor four participants from both generations (equal volunteers of male and female), to discover how frequently they use their phones, what they use their phones for, and how distracted each participant becomes if their phones buzz with notifications.

 

It is important to the study that I allow an even diversity of participants from both genders, sexes, and range of overall volunteers, to reach the most actuate results for the study. It is also necessary that each participant gives consent, and acknowledges how their information will be used, and how they will be presented. This research topic and the outcome of the study, rely on the authenticity and diversity of the participants involved; in order to achieve the results and an accurate conclusion, the participants involvement will be exceedingly valuable.

Through previous studies (Kumar & Lim, 2008), conclusions have been asserted that there is an overall difference for generations and use of technology and social media. However my study will differ, I plan to immerse myself into a personal study that shows more than just statistics. Through the incorporation of ethnographic, narrative, and qualitative research, this study will determine the statistical nature of the research topic, and give reasons to why there are differences in technology and social media usage in this qualitative data. Overall, through use of ethnography and authentic research, the clarity of the story behind technology and social media usage will enhance.

 

 

References:

Kumar, A. & Lim, H. 2008, “Age differences in mobile service perceptions: comparison of Generation Y and baby boomers”, The Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 22, no. 7, pp. 568-577. [Viewed 1st October 2016]

Media Regulations

Don’t you think that it’s slightly unfair that a select group of individuals are able to dictate what the rest of the country are able to view, in terms of media? Some may agree and believe that it is unfair; but nevertheless, media regulation is in practice to help. For example, you may hear of a film that has been banned in Australia because it was deemed too offensive, this is an instance of media regulation. Regulation and censorship of films and media impact the space and place that an individual can experience them; this sparks some controversy.

We are governed by a set of regulations that dictate what we can see through the media, these reasons for regulation include:

  • “Prevent copycat behavior”, in place so that individuals do not copy what they see through the media and bring harm to themselves.
  • “Protect children and adults from material likely to offend or disturb”, the classifications board categorizes films and television programs based on whether they are appropriate or not for different audiences, or whether they should be shown in Australia at all.
  • In order to “Protect cultural identity” in Australia, the certain number of foreign and local films and television programs are monitored.
  • “Preserve media diversity”, ownership and control of media organizations is monitored and restricted to allow for diversity.

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Some may believe that it is not right for someone else to deem what is right for another, but media restrictions are in practice to protect and help society. An example of a film that was banned from being shown in Australia was The Human Centipede II (full sequence), it was banned from Australian viewing (without substantial cuts and editing); reasons for banning the films were, “as the level of depictions of violence in the film has an impact which is very high”.

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Human Centipede films, specifically the second and third films, caused extreme anxiety over releases, at least not without cuts and edits to the films. Anxieties occurred over the specific release of Human Centipede II (full sequence) due to “copycat behaviour”, and use of offensive cruel behaviour due to the crude nature of the film. In relation to the film being banned, it has had an impact to do with the type of space and place that the film is presented. Space and place implying that you couldn’t view the full sequence in the cinemas, or rent it from the video shop, or even watch it over legal Internet streaming sites such as Netflix or Stan. The place and space that the film was required to morph into was overall generally illegal downloading online, or even bringing a copy of the film back from over seas. But for some, people believe that they should have the rights or even have the choice to view and consume media that their own disposal, or al least decide for themselves what they feel is right for them.

In most cases, I believe people would agree with the general media regulations; such as the classifications of films so that you know what to expect in terms of themes, and the diversification of media organisations to allow for alternate perspectives; these are affective regulations because we are still given a choice in the matter of viewing. But when told what we can and cannot watch, especially considering that it relates to the quality of the experience in the sense of space and place of the film, many do not agree with that form of censorship on what should be use of free speech. Overall, the space and place that media (especially films) is experienced impacts the medias quality and the individuals freedom of choice.

 

References:

Lamb, 2013, Australian Media Regulation, Available From: < http://lessonbucket.com/media-in-minutes/australian-media-regulation/ > [Viewed 30th September 2016]

 

SBS Film, 2011, A review by Australia’s censors means the horror film won’t get a release in Australia without substantial cuts, Available From:

< http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/article/2011/11/29/human-centipede-sequel-banned-oz > [Viewed 30th September 2016]

 

Australian Law Reform Commission, 2012, One size fits all? Classifying media in the digital age, Available From: < http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue108/10613 > [Viewed 30th September 2016]

Can I Have Your Attention Please?

Microsoft recently conducted a study on the average current attention span, in comparison to the average attention span for an individual from 2000. It appears that our average attention had declined from a previous 12 seconds, to currently 8 seconds. The introduction of the smartphone has been a key contributor towards the decline of attention; but in terms of attention quality and attention economy, that 8 seconds is even more precious and valuable to competing media outlets. With the shortened attention span most likely caused by the smartphone, it just so happens that the ability to multi task has increased, so not all so bad.

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In order to confirm that the average individual is more so distracted, and has a shorter attention span; I conducted a short experiment on my family. I had arranged for us to watch a family movie together (something that tends not to happen so much anymore). My experiment entailed documenting the number of times that each member of my family got distracted; or if those numbers are too high, for how often they were concentrated on the film. I am able to generate a hypothesis of my family considering that I am very familiar with their behaviors and use of technology, specifically with each of their smartphones. Due to the fact that each of the members of the family (mother, father, sister) generally have more compelling offers of distractions on their phones in comparison to a family movie, I predict they will all be distracted for the ongoing length of the film.

I decided on the film Pulp Fiction for the family movie, a film that is admired by all members of the family. At the commencement of the film, the attention of the film was promising; members only checked phones or were distracted by other devices when they buzzed, and attention was divided only for small periods of time before returning their attention to the film.

As the movie progressed, attention became increasingly divided, my sister was basically only on her smartphone for the remainder of the film; that was until she left to go to her room about three quarters way through the film. Both of my parents have loved the film Pulp Fiction for as long as I can remember, so naturally I expected for them to see the movie through with the majority of their attention focused on it. They did quite well, but in the last quarter of the film they were both on their phones quite frequently (average – checking phones every 3 minutes), and they didn’t make it to the end of the film without dozing off to sleep a couple of times either.

Considering that only a small sample size of one family were observed for this experiment, these results cannot deny nor confirm any theories, but a gap within generations is noted to be quite significant. Aside the experiment, I have noticed that younger generations that have grown up with the increased development of technology (such as the development of the smartphone), tend to rely on such technologies as distractions more than that who have grown up with the absence of it.

From the experiment conducted and the relevant studies and research on the recent average attention span, it can be asserted that attention economy is becoming increasingly more valuable for those competing for it. It is so common nowadays that if an individual is bored or dissatisfied with a situation, they can divert immediately to their phone. In terms of media economy, it may not be so bad that the average attention span has declined, because the main premise for that has been the use of the smartphone. If a media outlet wanted to grab an individual’s attention, the best source would be through smartphones.

 

References:

Ingram, 2015, The attention economy and the implosion of traditional media, Available From: < http://fortune.com/2015/08/12/attention-economy/ > [Viewed 23rd September 2016]

 

Watson, 2015, Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones, Available From: < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/12/humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smart/ > [Viewed 23rd September 2016]