Week 10: A Final Reflection

Well, here we are at the end of another blogging task. Hooray!

I will say that non-scholarly blogging, where interconnection to other sources is more important than reference points, is easier than scholarly blogging (with cites and all). I’m not completely sold on those things, though, because while it’s good to show you’re engaged with reading and you can back up your thoughts with research, sometimes that research doesn’t exist.

Both are good, but I feel that the blogging subject, as a regular feature, would want to show us internalising and expanding on the subject matter of lectures, week to week. If it was say, bi-weekly, maybe, compacting together two related subjects with third-party readings I’d feel more comfortable pushing together a more deliberate scholarly position.

I think the first challenge of blogging effectively is internalising the idea that your thoughts, and the words associated with them, are worth recording and pinning down. Expressing yourself regularly, and releasing words onto the internet – feels more terrifying than it is. For the most part, while you do have to keep in mind the potential of vast observation of your work, that doesn’t mean it’ll happen.

This is actually a source of frustration for me – since alongside my university work, I am trying to make online writing work for me. I’ve been writing non-stop for two years, and I have maybe… twenty, thirty readers.

Blogging is hard if you want attention or feedback. It can ache at the soul to put thoughts out in a public space in the hope of struggling with ideas, only to hear nothing but silence echoing back.

The internet tells us we are in a vast, interconnected web, and that we are part of the producing class, but that myth is not about being a producer building an audience as much as they are about joining up in a vast lottery. Some peoples’ writing will catch on – they have niches or interconnected audiences that can drive them onwards – but they have to catch.

That’s not to say skill isn’t important in blogging – but damn is luck involved too.

Still, blogging is a good task and I like it. I like that it’s a university project that rewards us for being engaged and doing some work every week. I like that it’s classwork that doesn’t demand a large, dense work at the end of the semester. And I particularly like that it can, hypothetically, be presented to employers to show our familiarity with blogging.

I think the part of this event that causes me the most problem is commentary. I think the reason I feel strange about commenting on other students’ blogs is actually a function of media in space.

The nature of online spaces is one of remote distance, where a person’s words are almost all we have to identify them. Most of the conversation with online experiences is remote and operated through identities we choose. This can give online spaces a certain forgiving nature, where if you say something wrong or silly, you don’t have to follow it up. You can just excuse yourself and that’s that. You can leave those spaces.

Last semester, I objected to a poorly designed test (that I had passed) in another one of my subjects. I used the term pedagogically useless when addressing the test, which was open-book and online with three hours of time to complete. The next tutorial I did, I walked into class a moment late, and another student yelled my name, and followed that up with how dare you-.

She became very angry, and after the tutorial was over I found out why. She was mad at me because she felt that I was saying anyone who did not finish the test and pass was stupid.

I hadn’t said that – but it was an example of an online miscommunication. She was so angry with me that, when the class was over, she fired off more anger at me, insisted I was wrong, then stormed out of the class when I tried to discuss it with her.

That kind of thing won’t happen with most online interactions, but it only has to happen once for me to be cautious. Interestingly, by drawing students together into our common space, these kind of online interactions are filtered through the knowledge that we will deal with these people in person.

By removing the distance of the internet, I feel the comment sections become instead spaces for friends to provide each other commentary that facilitates classwork. Small groups of blogs that mostly have anodyne ‘I saw that too!’ comments in them, between the same four or five people, for example.

I’m not sure if this is bad or not, but I do think that it’s very, very hard to moderate an online space like this to a proper level of safety, especially when there are followup exposures to one another in person.

Still, this subject has been about the logistics of spaces, and about the careful interrelationship between spaces, audiences, and the media consumed. As has been an eternal cycle in BCM subjects, I return to my point that everything an interrelated system of systems. Audienceship isn’t a binary state, either; it’s a spectrum. Some people join an audience through the act of observing that audience – such as us, observing Australian cinemagoers, have to look upon the trailers they’re considering and what they’re disregarding, putting us as part of that audience. Similarly, there are spaces that do not host media, that are still influenced by, and part of a media space. The space that is primarily about transition from place to place, enabling media experiences, are part of that same existence. Highway billboards turn people who flicker past them into audiences, turn stretches of road into media spaces, even for a few moments.

Blogging is just like this; it’s turning a little page on the internet into a media space. It’s media we shape, and building the audience for it is one of the hardest things we can do, without larger, louder, distribution vectors.

Week 9: A Research Brief, As Asked

Gosh, it’s hard when you have a research question about which you have big opinions, isn’t it? You sit there looking at it wondering how you can possibly remove your current biases, and try to sift through things you can prove and things you can test. I mean, I have an answer for this. I get asked about this, by American friends, by people interested in Australian media.

So how would I address the question Why don’t Australians go to see Australian films?

It depends on who’s asking, of course. Without getting super cute about it, here are the people I expect to ask this question:

  • The government, as an investor in cinema
  • A movie creator, looking to maximise their opportunity
  • A movie distributor, wanting to decide whether to base out of Australia

Fortunately, for most of these people, there’s a lot of common information that benefits both. I’m not going to go do that research at this moment, just outline what information I’d want. The questions I know I need to answer:

  • Just how do we define successful films in Australia?
  • How many Australians have disposable income?
  • How are Australians partaking in film?
  • What form does film consumption take in Australia?

And, most crucially:

  • What competes with Australian media?

This isn’t a vacuum. With any research project, what you want is to come up with the context, you want to inform the decision your stakeholder makes. Oh, sure, you may have ideas and opinions on this – and hey, I’m keeping a lid on that right now – but what we’re looking for is something that research methods can help.

Okay, so what about these questions? Fortunately, a few of them are reasonably easy to look at. There’s statistical information that you can shake out, already obtained, about the first few questions. Particularly, that last question – about competition – is one we can dig into with qualitive questions.

Fact is, you can talk to anyone who watches films and talk to them about the films they like. And that’s where I’d want to go with this research once I’ve got sufficient data. When I know how much we spent on cinema, when I can do things like juxtapose our consumption on Australian films versus consumption of non-Australian film. Things like the commonality of film visits. Things like the how many people just watch youtube instead?

I’m honestly not sure I want this to be my research question. It’s an interesting question to talk about, but I’m not sure if this is the sort of space my interests lie. Still, the question was to draft a proposal around this specific question, so there we go.

Week 8: The Demons Outside

Listing everything in my life that’s been the byproduct of a rule or regulation about the use of media would take thousands of pages and probably be a very depressing book. Social pressure pulls me away from expressing my feelings in a variety of venues, even including things like private diaries. In some cases it’s extreme social anxiety from friends – a person who could literally not bear the idea of being maligned, at all, who extracted a promise I never so much as write down how I felt about them in a private diary. In other cases, it’s been a clear tool of culture control.

Talking about things like kindness and emotional proximity are hard and there aren’t many good references, though. So let’s talk about the creepy religious bit.

At my church growing up, there was a strict rule against many things in the media. No rock music; no brand names on clothes; no satanically-influenced products like Dungeons and Dragons or Cabbage Patch Kids. Mostly, these bans were through social pressure; everyone else would disapprove, or talk to a parent, and a parent would quietly take the offending produce away.

One form of media control enforcement that became common as we grew older was the idea of media displacement. This happens in groups that feel a mainstream option doesn’t serve their needs – you find a specific replacement media form. For example, in the mid-90s there was a resurgence of ska music on the radio. You might have heard this:

Of course, listening to this sort of stuff on the radio wasn’t allowed! But there was clearly a media trend – people wanted ska music. What did Christian fundamentalists do about that? Well, check this action out!

They called themselves Bunch of Believers and their songs included Mission Trip To Mexico and this piece here, I’m Gunna Wait. Not really as meaningful or as deep – in my mind –as the nervous self-assessment of The Impression That I Get or the historical curiosity of Rascal King, but whatever.

This form of Media Displacement is not new but it’s also not going away. Did you hear about Reaganbook, the Conservative Answer to Facebook? What about Conservapedia, a version of Wikipedia that reflects a Young-Earth Creationist, Homeschooled view of the world? That’s not even to say Media Displacement is a fundamental evil – specialised media spaces for smaller audiences can be useful for marginalised groups!

The moral issue the church was trying to address, almost universally, was an unspoken contamination. A very tightly controlled worldview, the church taught a worldview where sin was everywhere, and literally magical forces could manipulate you through things you observed or heard. When you literally believe that a pop song can transform the soul, of course you’re going to be scared of them. The control was a clamp, it had to be as close to absolute as possible.

It’s a pretty fearful, strange world.

As for spaces… consider how ubiquitous media is, casually. Riding the bus? You hear the radio. Head to the supermarket and you’ll see all sorts of brands. Watch the news, and what’s that in the advertisements?

By making the common trappings of uncontrolled spaces dangerous and sinful, the church made every uncontrolled space into a place of literal existential threat.

We didn’t leave the house much.

Week 7: Read This Post In A Funny Accent

I legitimately worry that the idea people will most internalise about this talk is that memory is enabled by accents.

Your memory does not work particularly well. For the most part, your ability to estimate mathematical odds is linked to your ability to recall something easily. An example Dan Gilbert used was asking whether or not there are more four-letter words structured r_ _ _ or _ _ r _. Since most people find it easy to think of words that start with r, they typically answer the first, when the second type of word structure is much more common.

This isn’t anyone’s fault, but it’s generally been a problem with education that our ability to recall things is a little haphazard, and a large part of education has been through the population of memory. Rote learning, it’s typically called; you do a sum, and then you do a dozen more, similar sums, hoping to internalise how those sums interact. Research has an echo to this; you usually have to look at numerous examples of a thing before you can reasonably call them data.

Multitasking as outlined in class is indicated by the texts we saw as an ill to education. It diminishes our ability to retain information, it pulls our focus away from the education, and oh, won’t someone think of the children. I thought it was quite interesting the way the sources referred to people’s perceptions of their skill at multitasking, saying that people are, generally worse than they think they are. This is probably true, but meaninglessly so – because people are almost always bad at self-assessment.

When researching, though, you will bring your own biases into the exchange, deeper and more foundational assumptions than you may necessarily have recognised. In the case of this multitasking-and-memory input subject, for example, we’ve been looking at the way memories are formed and the ease with which that creates actionable data, but, isn’t that assuming that recall of facts is education? Susan Greenfield dismissed the idea of fact recall as education, which seems strange to me, since memorising a list of facts was very much in the older, pre-computive model of education.

In our research, we may find our questions are malformed; we started by asking Is multitasking bad for education?, and after sifting, we find ourselves with the more specific Multitasking is bad for factual retention, but is that good or bad for education. Can we consider that?

Digging underneath our research assumptions is very important. You do need to be able to show a point where you’re willing to stop, but sometimes if your approach has a faulty assumption in it, you should be willing to overturn that, and sift downwards.

In the case of multitasking, what if multitasking is bad for factual retention, but the practice of calling and recognising external information has other, more useful effects for our educational models? What if what’s failing right now isn’t education, but the ending of the need for rote memorisation in education? What if multitasking as part of an interconnected society reflects an intuitive connection to large, external data structures, part of our extelligence?

Try to check your assumptions. The nature of the media landscape is one where models crafted in the 1900s are trying – awkwardly – to apply to experiences in the 21st century, and not always are those attempts elegant.

Week 6: Public And Private Mobile Experiences

Remember last week?

I went to a cinema, and sat down in a quiet space, and waited for a few hours. It wasn’t a particularly interesting experience, you know. I don’t think I quiet conveyed correctly what it was like to sit in one space, and do nothing beyond what I could do on my phone.

Coincidentally, it was perfect time to ruminate on the observations of other people observing me on my phone. I saw a pair of older people, with some kids, who walked past me, and I overheard a complaint about ‘glued to their phones,’ which I suppose I deserved, considering the oddness of what I was doing. The funny thing was, this is a fine hallmark of something people think of as public – it was a moment when people felt they had the right to judge what I was doing and comment on it. Haven’t we all done that? Look at someone, and then snidely tell someone else we’re with what we think of them?

This contrasted with the last time I spent a large part of the day looking at my phone. I worked a table at SMASH!Con 2014, the anime and manga convention in Randwick racecourse. In this space, I had to stay in one spot, a public space, and seeking mementos, called people over to the table so I could take a photograph of them and share it.

When I did this, as a matter of principle I always asked:

Can I take your photo?

Is it okay if I share it online?

Do you want the twitter account where they’re being shared?

In every case, I made absolutely certain I had all three of those questions answered. When I encountered an Arietty cosplayer, who was herself, maybe six or five years old? I asked her father’s permission to ask her. Then, when I took the picture, I provided the father with the twitter account so he could follow up on the photo if he or she had a problem with it.

The strangest thing about this, for now, is that these phones create the potential for surveillance from a personal level. This is typically referred to sousveillaince. This lets us bring to bear our views of accountability on other people – but it also diminishes feelings of personal agency in public spaces. While sousveillance has a value when dealing with power structures – such as police, in Ferguson, Missouri – it still represents to other people a potential loss of implied privacy in public spaces.

Really, we rely on public spaces to forget.

Week 5: Sitting Still And Doing Nothing

I didn’t go to the cinema today. Or rather, I went to the cinema, the building itself. I sat down quietly, on a plush leather seat, and used my phone to write down my thoughts as I waited. The cinema experience has always been a bit alien to me – I remember a few crucial times when social invitations took me to the cinema; Disney films on Christmas holidays. One date. A friend randomly bumping into me outside the theatre and suggesting I come with. The experiment, therefore, was not about going to the movies, but going, and sitting, and thinking, at the cinema.

Cinema experiences are weird. You sit still, don’t do anything, and you have to go to a big building, specially set side to sit still and do nothing.

Can I get there? This is the least complicated question. Yes. I live walking distance from a theatre. It’s broad and flat and if I want to catch a bus those work regularly, too. It’s upstairs, but there’s an escalator and an elevator. It’s not an inaccessible space.

Can I get there at the right time? The schedule is available online, the movie theatre is available online, and there’s no real challenge to me to make those pieces of data snap together. Thing is, that’s if I’m going there alone. If I want to go with my wife, suddenly things change. I need to find time on her schedule that’s clear, then hopefully she’s of the mood to go, and then talk to her for a bit about it and we need to make sure we walk the dog, and that’s just involving one person, who lives in the same house as me. Arranging it with another person would multiply complications even further.

Am I allowed to be here. Sure you are. You can walk in and around the place, you can look at the posters, you can quietly rest with your hands in your pockets, and you can just sit on the plush seats. Watching the demo reels of the arcade games used to entertain me as a child, less so now. The thing is, when you do that, there’s a quiet air of confusion. Sit for ten minutes, nobody thinks it too remarkable.

Norms are everywhere in the cinema. How loudly you speak, how quickly you pay, whether or not you sneak food in, how close you sit to strangers. These rules aren’t publically recorded anywhere – though particularly in the case of the food, the movie theatre wants it to be a nice and obvious rule – but are instead accumulations of the opinions of audiences. What’s more, it’s an accumulation of opinions of people who are both present and not present.

You do things in the cinema based on other people’s expectations about you, but also your expectations of how they feel about what you’re doing. If you don’t like hearing people talk in the cinema, and you hear other people talking, typically, you don’t start talking as much as they do. You’re there with your norm, trying to very quietly lean over and hope other people notice and respond to it. Maybe you’ll glare at them. Maybe, if you’re very bold, you’ll turn to look at some strangers – assuming you’re not too socially awkward – and say Shhh. Or if you’re one of those strange superhumans who is willing to be rude, you’ll do something like say ‘Can you please be quiet? We’re trying to watch the movie,’ and that there is you trying to use the movie, the common, shared space, as an agent of authority.

That’s if you go into a movie, of course.

If you go into a cinema and just sit there for an hour, on your own, with your phone for company, there is something strange about you and the staff will come and check. They’ll walk past, double check. You okay mate? Yeah, I’m fine, thanks. Waiting for someone? No, not me. Ah, waiting for the next movie screening? Nope.

The internals of a cinema are designed with a purpose, and in the modern multiplex, that purpose is fairly clearly defined. It’s not a dance hall or a sock hop or a food court; a cinema is a business which operates on a set of structured events. There is a timetable. There are ads. There are things to do. If you’re doing those things, you fit into one of the categories.

It’s interesting to consider the cinema as a large, shared space, a space we transport ourselves to to change our mental modes and how we approach our leisure time. What I found, interestingly enough, however, was how in this wonderful heterotopic space, with its little social expectations, is a place made subtly uncomfortable by the presence of someone who just wants to sit still, and do nothing.

Week 4: The Future Of Sunshine

I couldn’t interview any members of the Rice family for my second-part interview, in part because they scattered to the four winds and in other part because I lost contact with a huge number of people when I left the church. Thankfully, however, I have the opportunity to speak about the NBN as it relates to spaces and actions, with someone who lives in the same area, Melbourne.

Mispy (his online handle) is an old friend of mine, a programmer responsible for SciRate and working with Draftable, who lives online, thinks of the future, and manages an army of silly toy robots that people sometimes mistake for the Prime Minister. No, really.

Talking with Mispy about the NBN was a fascinating exercise. I’m very used to asking him about a technology and hearing him talk effusively about its applications, about interesting things involved in its construction or in its history. When I brought up the NBN, though, I was treated to a fairly simple response:

“It’ll probably just increase the speed of the transition to internet-based media that is already underway. Particularly for holdouts in rural areas and old people.”

Just. That’s all. Nothing special, nothing remarkable, just a continuation of the earlier pattern.

A little more probing about it and I worked out what the context to this was. Mispy, as a tech professional, already has reason to highly value fast internet speeds – and he therefore, quite sensibly, invests in making sure his internet is already very fast. The internet, as a service, in the middle of one of Australia’s largest cities, is going to be a competitive thing where you get what you pay for.

I came into this sort of expecting a glimmering-eyed utopian vision of how thanks to the NBN, his work would be improved, and so would the lives of everyone around him; instead, he –very sensibly – listed a small number of possible applications of the NBN. Improving a specific program process. The possibility of running Australian-based cloud servers instead of risking legal ramifications of running those servers in the United States. The long-term availability of such infrastructure presenting applications he hadn’t considered.

The thing that this conversation really made me realise was how, from the perspective of the technologists, most of this is just an inevitability. Right now, I’ve freshly moved houses; my old home had decent, tolerable, but bad internet connectivity. I could stream Youtube videos or listen to streaming audio while at home. Since moving, I had a full month without any internet connectivity at all, followed by a slow and steady improvement to a current transfer speed that means this blog post won’t be going up until sometime after the cut-off time, just because of the basic demands of connections. To talk from this perspective – where streaming media doesn’t exist, where the internet disconnects constantly – to someone with Mispy’s perspective was strange indeed.

Mispy’s perspective, as best summarised was that improvement in the internet, and shifts towards the internet, were simply inevitable. The internet would improve things; the only question was how quickly, or how soon. His own mobility wasn’t even a considered issue – I had to bring up that NBN access would make it easier for him to move to and from homes.

With that impression moved, he talked statistics a bit; the numbers are quite impressive, the technical side of it very distinct. More people will be online. More people will have higher-speed, more reliable internet. That then lead him to talk about availability of media.

“Yeah; Australia is currently one of the countries in the world with the highest levels of piracy in large part because regional restrictions tend to ignore its existence. Netflix, for example, has a large Australian audience who have to use VPN tunnelling just to pay for the damn thing… Just recently an American friend was talking about a game she liked. I cannot buy that game by any means other than importing an entire console from the US.”

I think there are other barriers for easy exporting to Australia. While infrastructure is definitely a thing, when it comes to videogames, media has to pass through our strange censorship process. There are still standards and rules that are being considered even though they’re essentially unenforceable.

Throughout the conversation, I honestly felt a little crestfallen. I had expected Mispy to be full of bubbling enthusiasm for it, because, to me, it represented something wonderful. Something I’d never had – an access to an online space of great speed, where I could compete on a level playing field with other consumers and providers of media. So penultimate question was to ask him, very simply, what his impression of the NBN was:

“I think it is excellent! We will never reach post-scarcity without serious overhauls of the basic building blocks of society.”

Mispy is a person who thinks of the world in these terms, and this is how he sees the future. Post-scarcity is not a thing that exists in science fiction – it’s an attainable, real-world goal.

Week 3: The Spaces They Can’t Touch

Physical, tangible space is one of the easiest forms of spatial relationships to consider. We all leave little handprints everywhere we go. It’s the sort of thing we like to tell science fiction stories about, some utopian but mostly dys.

Talking about tangible spaces and audience measurement is actually something strange, for me. It’s not something I’ve a lot of direct experience with; I’m not actually a TV watcher. The medium I primarily experience is a digitised one; since being an adult and making my own choices, I just don’t much care for those forms. There isn’t much audience measurement in books – usually sales figures are enough, unless some genius is working on making a book-reading position that stays comfortable for the entire duration of a reading binge.

The strangest thing I realised, as I thought about this, was the way that the desktop computer, a fixture of my life, had become a symbol for a type of work. Now, at the risk of being crude, something I’ve noticed commonly amongst males my own age is desktop computers being oriented away from doorways. That is to say, when speaking with guys my age about computer spaces, it’s common for us to not want to have our screens observed unawares.

That’s just an observation, though; it’s not measurement. It’s not seeking out audience engagement, it’s not turning a fact into data, into trends, into spreads of statistics. What we do, out of privacy or embarrassment, are not easily estimated.

Well, Facebook manages it.

The Facebook update window is a virtualised space that a recent study decided to analyse. Now, you may have heard this discussed in horrified tones – facebook records what you don’t even post. That’s not quite what it does. To delve into specifics, in the paper, the methodology is that the recording software triggers when at least five characters are entered, and then a pause is made. If the user posts, that’s it, no more, the program shuts down.

If the user enters five characters, pauses, then deletes the post, the software logs that, and a time. The actual message communicated is not tracked. No, that would, it seems, be a step too far in violating privacy (and let’s face it, Facebook is fond of skirting that line).

What’s being measured – and has indeed been collated alongside all the other wonderful demographic information is how often and how readily people are inclined to censor themselves. In this way, they monitored a very, very small space indeed; the space that sat between a user’s send and delete impulses.

Week 2: Televisions From Heaven

I couldn’t reach the people directly for this talk. Time has wended on and I’ve walked away from the circle of people where this was a thing.

I had TV in my house, growing up. We were poor, so our televisions were second-hand, rarely high tech, and had aerials in the room. I remember helping my mother rearrange the living room, using the sofas and the tables to create a space around the television, and climbing up on a bookshelf to hook the long, copper-and-white-plastic cable over the top of another bookshelf.

We had a space in the house. A lounge faced perpendicular to the television, where you could lay down on the sofa and watch the TV, or where I slouched on the arm forwards. Neck hurt in long watches, but over the course of the afternoon, even for shows like Wheel of Fortune and Telebots that I didn’t like too much, they slowly built a warmth underneath me. My sister and I used those spaces; sometimes on the floor, sometimes having turf wars over the sofa or the remote control. I never remembered doing anything with the remote – I just cared about having it. This was TV. This was the shared experience of my family, before I started to become withdrawn, before I hid in my room to create things on paper, and eventually, a screen.

Six weeks of the year, though, television went away.

It wasn’t a personal ritual, at laest, not deliberately. it was a trip down to Melbourne, to visit with my father’s friends. While there, we stayed with a variety of families, of different settings and styles – and one of them was the Rice* family.

The Rice families owned what I can only call a property in the middle of the Melbourne suburb of Ferntree Gully. This property was basically a farm; it was large enough that there was a main house, a school building, two sheds and a storage container as well. There was a spiralling tree down the back, which I would climb, up on its little hillock, and look out over the plain brown fences around me, and the array of entirely normal suburban homes that surrounded the property on all sides.

There was a garden, sprawling full of vines and crops, growing a year’s supply of tomatoes and carrots, pumpkins and lettuces, with the tiniest reason to ever talk to a supermarket operator. The Rice family were kind, they were sweet, and they filled their archaic style of home with fascinating devices. Little wooden puzzles, books, stacks of board games, an old sound system, a wax cylinder record player.

And no television.

The Rice family were deeply religious and traditional. My family were religious as well – but there was some small sliver of difference between them and us. With four daughters and a son, the Rice family taught their kids at home, they didn’t allow their daughters to wear anything but skirts, they shared church by listening to tapes sent by friends, and they simply did not court television. There was no space in their house that showed that – rooms with chairs that pointed at one another but not at an object. Spaces with chairs and desks that directed to computers. I never learned why.

The Rices read a Bible chapter every night; all the way through, no pauses, and no breaks. They did this as a family, with the patriarch of the family toning through the book carefully. When we were guests in their home, we followed their rules – rules that included my sister not wearing pants, and my being very careful about doing anything for more than half an hour at a time and being careful what I read, and what I shared.

It was basically impossible to keep outside out, forever. The Rices all hit ages when they had to start jobs, and they all worked hard. They socialised outside of their family frame. They met and spoke to other people, and as we fell out of immediate contact with them, we started to learn things about them through letters, missives, and RSVPs on wedding invitations. Jobs led to exposure to more media, and that media exposure lead to exploration of the outside world. It was a slow thing, and I don’t know how hard or how easy it was… but…

I did learn, however, after ten years of visiting the Rice family, that there was an end to this story, when the eldest daughter moved out. It turned out she’d married – and the first thing she did, when she married and left the house?

She went and bought a television.


* Not real name; the family were incommunicado for this interview, so I had to make do with diary clippings.

Week 1: Another Introduction

Hi there. I’m R. Hall, I’m probably the obnoxious, outspoken mature age student you have in your tutorials. Chances are, you’re reading this out of a sense of obligation and because commenting on other people’s blogs is a good way to make up participation points. There’s not much to know about me here that’s worth knowing, that I can make meaningful to your context.

The funny thing to me is that this unit is on media audiences – it’s about the people who engage with a medium, and how they interface with one another. This is funny, because I genuinely know nothing about the audience for this blog. Should I disingenuously pretend I’m writing for my fellow students? There are like, four hundred of you, and I think three of you would care if I lived or died. Should I just admit I’m writing to the teachers? Well, doesn’t that run the risk of being just as disingenuous?

And don’t say ‘write for yourself.’ That sentiment is a loaded one and it’s also quite foolishly used most of the time.

Either way, here we are, first steps on our path of BCM240. Hoping you’ll have fun checking in over the course of the next few weeks!