For the past nine weeks, I have been creating content on my blog site for a Media and Communication University subject, BCM240, which explores the role that space, place and locality play in the understanding of media audiences.
The act of learning played out quite differently to other subjects generally experienced in my time at University. There were no set readings and we weren’t spoon-fed information. Instead we were supplied with a topic, required to hunt for relevant sources that intrigued and attracted us, and then needed to write about our findings and our attitudes towards these in our weekly blog posts. Being the perfectionist that I am, the search for sources meant quite a lot of reading, but it was reading that I was interested and engaged in, so the time wasn’t really an issue and I feel as though I now have a greater understanding of media audiences because of this.
I’m going to be quite sentimental and suggest that what I have valued most about the subject is the rich conversation that arose from the research I conducted with my parents. To gain insights into historical cinema and television experiences and spaces, my mother, father and I sat together at the dining table with a bottle of red wine, long into the night, as they shared with me their precious nostalgic memories of their first experiences with cinema and television. It gave me an awakening insight into their childhood and reminded me that my parents actually lived their own lives before my brother and I were on the scene, a time which I know so little about. The results of these nostalgic moments were the posts ‘Memoirs of Early Television: Fried Rice Fridays and Cellophane Improvisation’ and ‘A ‘Flea Shed’ Cinematic Experience’, possibly two of my favourite posts for this very reason.
My all-time favourite post, however, would have to be the one that generated significant online and offline conversation. It was my very first post for the subject, ‘iLoo? Guilty’, which explored the notion of media consumption in the most private of spaces, the bathroom. With 32 views, 5 likes, 10 poll participants and multiple favourites on Twitter, it was undoubtedly my most successful post for the subject so far in terms of readership. I attribute this mainly to the controversial and comical nature of its content. Due to its popularity I’m hoping to explore the subject further through my digital storytelling project over the coming weeks.
My readership statistics could have benefited from regular promotion on Twitter, as my tweets were quite sparse over the course of the subject. I believe that promotion on my personal Facebook would have also lead to increased hits, but first I need to overcome the fear of university-outsiders reading my blog content before I commit to such sharing – which is something I need to work on.
Although I did ‘like’ and leave feedback on the blog posts of other students, I could have commented more frequently and over a greater variety of posts, even on the work of those not in the BCM240 subject. Gardner (2012) suggests that effective and thoughtful commenting not only contributes to the conversation, but also leaves your ‘digital footprint’, whereby other readers and writers can find their way to your blog, creating traffic and ultimately increasing readership.
Although the production of weekly blogs has been challenging, it has also been a rewarding experience and I feel as though I have created an aggregation of posts discussing media audience motivation, behaviour and experiences which I am quite proud of. Through historical and modern explorations of place, space and locality, I have gained a deeper insight into media audiences and the true power of new media technologies.
Gardner, B 2012, Why You Should Leave Blog Comments on Blogs, Brian Gardner, 21 May, viewed 26 September 2013, http://www.briangardner.com/blog-comments/