Media, Audience and Place: A Reflection

The second year of my BCMS degree also commemorates my second year of public blogging. As I stated in my introduction blog post for Media, Audience and Place, I don’t regularly update my activity on social media. However,  I believe this subject was an excellent catalyst in not only developing my writing style, but also emphasising the importance of curating and aggregating. by considering all these elements, by writing has become far more personalised and conceptual. Throughout my public writing for this subject, I have come to appreciate the complex relationship between media, audience and place.

One of my favourite posts was in week five regarding ‘Cinemas – Strangers in public’. In this post I explored the current and changing attitudes towards cinema attendance in Australia. What I liked about this topic was how the cinema is contentiously blurred between what is considered public and private space. In this post I undertook a visit to the cinema, but decided to notice some of the unwritten social rules regarding this activity. One thing I noticed that week, and have continued to notice is that in an uncrowded theatre, most patrons don’t like to sit next to each other. As stated in my blog, ‘How hard is going to the movies?’, my friends and I would rather not sit directly next to or in front of someone if possible. Although I never addressed this in the blog, I would now consider this an extension to the authority constraint, in regards to Hagerstrand’s three classes of constraints (1970). Despite that this isn’t at all enforced by “certain people or institutions” (Corbett 2001), I would consider this a social guideline that, at least in Australian culture, is self-imposed.

Another significant post was in week 8. My post, ‘Being denied to a club is one thing, but a movie?’, explored the legal and ethical regulations in regards to films and audience. I thought that this post was effective as I began with a personal anecdote where I was denied entry to a film as I couldn’t prove my age. I than went into explicit detail about the law surrounding movie classifications in Australia, and how this differentiates in the US. What I liked most about this post is how the relationship between media, audience and place can be restricted by law or ethics. In several of my posts, I have included a short anecdote as Clark states, they “can make people laugh” and “immediately establish the main point of your post” (2006). Furthermore, I believe this post is a great example of using a variety of relevant hyperlinks. Throughout this post (and most others), I hyperlink all sources that are accessible to the general public. Therefore, throughout this post, whenever I refer to an news article, or government publication, I not only reference that evidence, but also provide a means of easy navigation for my readers.

Another key element I have included in the layout of my blogs is incorporating images, videos or graphs to break up large pieces of writing. Both as a blogger and a reader of blogs, I think this is necessary in communicating an argument or idea. For example, in my post ‘Australian Cinema of World Cinema?’, when referring to the film ‘Bait 3D’ I included the YouTube video to the official trailer. Furthermore, when I refer to the Australian film ‘Animal Kingdom’, I included the original poster image of the film adjacent to the writing. I believe these elements are a very effective and simple method to attracting the attention of the reader. As Bullas states, ‘articles with images get 94% more total views’ (2012). As such, I usually included some form of visual content that was relevant to the arguments I made regarding media, audience and place.

Following some feedback from several peers and my tutor, I realised my blog was in dire need of renovations. Conceptually, I perceive blogs as a direct channel to the audience. My blog is a personalised, yet academic source for my readers. As such, I wanted my blog to have a sleek and aesthetic design that assisted my ideas. As outlined by Clarke (2014), I determined to simplify my blog and add a few personal touches. I decided to change my blog design from the default 2013 model, to the ‘Hemmingway Rewritten’ theme. This theme created a more cleaner layout, with a greater amount of white space and a flowing transition from one blog to the next. I also discovered the importance of navigation, as Clarke states, “website navigation should feel intuitive to your visitor” (2014). This was achieved by categorising my blog posts, as well as adding a menu to the top for simpler routing.

In addition to studying Communication & Media Studies, I am also a Mandarin major and prior to undertaking this subject, I had just travelled to Shanghai and Beijing. Having enjoyed this experience, I wanted to share this with my audience. One of the great features of the ‘Hemingway Rewritten’ theme was that the header allowed for multiple large images. Although only one image would be presented at a time, this image would change as the visitor navigated between posts. I believe this provided a visually refreshing experience for the reader.

Media, Audience and Place also taught me the importance of aggregation. In previous subjects I would simply post my blog into the blogosphere and revel in the 3-5 views it may secure each week. However, BCM240 required me to not only post my blog, but also tweet the link. At first I was a little anxious. It is one thing to write in public, but to post and support my writing on social media was, at first, a difficult goal to tackle. It required me to re-evaluate what ideas, links and supporting media would best support my argument – particularly if it was to be criticised publicly. In addition to tweeting a link to my blog, I also discovered the assistance of tagging my posts. With every post, I would often include multiple relating tags to further seek interested readers. As I am new to twitter, I made the mistake of using ‘@BCM240’, rather than ‘#BCM240’. This mistake may have hindered my viewership, but regardless I still was able to aggregate a much larger regular readership by supporting tags to my posts.

I most definitely feel that public writing is a very efficient tool in exploring and presenting ideas and arguments. Throughout this semester, I believe that my skills in public writing, as well as my understanding of media, audience and place have matured.

Sources:

Bullas, J 2012, ‘6 Powerful Reasons Why you Should include Images in your Marketing – Infographic’, Jeff Bullas, 28 May, viewed 28 September 2014, < http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/05/28/6-powerful-reasons-why-you-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic/&gt;.

Clark, B 2006, ‘5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang’, Copyblogger, 19 September, viewed 29 September 2014, < http://www.copyblogger.com/5-simple-ways-to-open-your-blog-post-with-a-bang/&gt;.

Clarke, A 2014, ‘8 Blog design tips to make sure people stop to read your content’, Jeff Bullas, 28 April, viewed 28 September 2014, < http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/04/28/8-blog-design-tips-to-make-sure-people-stop-to-read-your-content/&gt;.

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