Explore habits around social media and device use and examine how this information can be used to measure media audience engagement.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been chronically my exploration into the study of media, audience and place on my blog. I have looked directly at how space and place influence our media practices, how aspects of public life overlap with private and how media ethnographers measure audience engagement. The time has come to construct a pitch for my upcoming digital storytelling project and I have decided to combine each of the factors above in an effort to examine the ways in which media practices and audience experiences are spatial in nature.
My project will explore differing formalities around social media and device use while seeking to examine how this research can help to inform media audience measurement. This project will in turn compare and contrast traditional roles of media audience measurement (such as quantitative media use research) against collaborative ethnographic research, demonstrating the opportunities that exist for contemporary styles of study. By looking at the ways in which ethnographic practices inform the relationship between media, audience and place, I will be able to look directly at how we use stories and experiences of social media and device use to measure media audience engagement.
“I actually delete a lot of my Instagram photos after the fact, a few weeks down the line. I go back and clean them up,” explain motherhood bloggers Cat and Nat of @catandnat (Today’s parent, 2017). “We also don’t use Snapchat, because we don’t like the filters. I don’t want my kids to see me with doe eyes all the time. I don’t want them to think that’s what life is like—they can only post a picture with a halo over their head or something.”
As the quote above demonstrates, individuals can be understood to have a routine or set of conventions around their use of social media. My project will explore and dissect such habits, compare older and newer formalities and look at how social media use brings the public sphere into private life. I will examine how its use changes certain practices and ideas of space and how certain digital trends mark points in time and place.
For example, a study conducted by Moulin and Chung (2017) surveyed 89 high school and college students in the US between the ages of 16 and 25 and found that 72% of high school participants and 86% of college students regularly slept with their mobile or tablet.
“Over half of these students continued to access and use their devices in bed for significant amounts of time prior to sleeping. Many of these even awakened after falling asleep to access or respond to electronic messaging.”
These qualitative research methods when accompanied by ethnographic studies can prove to convey a deeper message than without. My project will seek to combine the use of primary research in the form of reflexive narrative storytelling, case studies and interviews with secondary research such as academic sources in an effort to achieve just that. It will also explore the ways social media use can affect relationships, an individual’s ability to differentiate between private and public life online and what media means to people in the context of their lives.
The study mentioned above found that the research indicated “unhealthy sleep habits may be creating a generation of sleep-deprived individuals who may not be functioning at top capacity” (Moulin and Chung, 2017). When followed by collaborative ethnographic research, a greater understanding of the reasons behind such use and how we can address the issue faced is made possible. This research would be of value to a number of stakeholders including the individuals themselves, parents, media producers, advertisers, government agencies, academic researchers and more.
Watch this space.
Featured image: Flickr
Parenting in the age of social media’, 2017, Today’s Parent, vol. 35, no. 4, p. 67.
Moulin, KL, & Chung, C 2017, ‘Technology Trumping Sleep: Impact of Electronic Media and Sleep in Late Adolescent Students’, Journal of Education and Learning, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 294-321.