Mind Your Mobile Manners

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) encourages individuals to use their mobile phones in a responsible manner and to be considerate and aware of situations where using their mobile phone might annoy others. We use them first thing in the morning, in bed, at dinner, during our university lectures, and even on the toilet, we simply can’t get enough of them.

When a UK checkout worker refused to serve a customer on her phone the unrecognised issue became dominant in the media. First of all, take a look at this Can Of Worms video which looks at customers using mobile devices while being served at shops and how hard it is for the shop assistants to interact with them.

Debretts states that there are many situations in which using mobile phones is inappropriate: they should be switched off in theatres, cinemas, art galleries, or any public space where silence is desired. But should this be the case when being served in a shop as well? In a response to the Courier, Ms Dopper spoke on behalf of customers interacting with their mobile devices by stating

“Most of the time they could just let it go to message bank, they don’t even say excuse me, rude, rude, rude.”

I currently work in a retail shop and experience more than 10 people daily who are on their mobile phones while your trying to serve them, and after a while it does become quite frustrating. But how and what is being done to prevent this?

Russell Zimmerman spoke on behalf of the The Australian Retailers Association saying that common courtesy is required from both sides of the equation.

“It’s common courtesy to set the ground rules. You’ve got to judge the situation individually, the consumer has to be mindful of the sales assistant but the assistant has to be mindful that the consumer may need to take a call.”

I completely agree that it’s common courtesy to disregard your mobile phone while been served, although there are times when you must answer (e.g. business calls and medical calls). I believe that if the call must be taken, the customer should try to politely excuse themselves and thank the shops assistants. As a customer service provider one of the most important parts of our job is to interact with our customers, and with them on their phones how do they get to experience that. I think the role of the customer is to try be as polite and attentive to the person in front of you as you can.

Do you use your mobile phone when you are being served at a shop? Do you believe it is socially acceptable to do so? Leave your views in the comments below or engage at @katee_scott.

And don’t forget to participate in the poll below!

AMTA, 2015, Community, accessed on 28 September 2015 <http://www.amta.org.au/articles/Mind.your.mobile.Manners>
Byrne, P 2013, Are you being served? Mobile phones a no-no, The Courier, accessed on 28 September 2015, <http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/1617872/are-you-being-served-mobile-phones-a-no-no/>
Craw, V 2013, Worker refuses to serve customer using their mobile at check-out, NewsCom, accessed on 28 September 2015, <http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/worker-refuses-to-serve-customer-using-their-mobile-at-checkout/story-e6frfm9r-1226673761722/>


Attention What?

In the digital age, you’re probably wondering what the Internet is doing to your attention span. Do you ever get that feeling of phantom vibrations when no one is texting you? Do you find yourself flicking between the television, phone and computer? And do you ever struggle to concentrate for long periods of time? Trust me you’re not alone.

The Statistic Brain Research Institute states

“Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals. It’s no surprise attention spans have been decreasing over the past decade with the increase in external stimulation.”

David Brook’s takes an interesting approach to the influence of the Internet on our attention span by stating

“being online is like being a part of the greatest cocktail party ever and it is going on all the time.. you have access to an ever-changing universe of social touch-points”

and you can simply click away when boredom strikes. He places it in contrast to offline learning where it

“is more like being a member of a book club.. when you’re offline you’re not in constant contact with the universe”

suggesting that reading becomes more linear and intentional, with individuals deferring from multitasking, distractions and keywords. But society is adapting to the digital era as the younger generations are regulating towards ‘second screeners‘ by hopping between devices testing our cognitive capacity as we media-multitask. For example, in the process of writing the post, I have 4 different browsers open with at least 10 tabs open in each ranging from different assignments, to online shopping and even looking at waterfalls in the Sydney region. I also have 7 News playing on the television in the background and my phone sitting next to me ready to jump at the sight of any message or interaction.

In a recent study conducted by the Microsoft Corporation, it was proved that the digitalised impact on the brain has reduced the average human attention span from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2013.


Although when you reflect on the environment that surrounds us is it really any surprise? The news has become limited to 140 characters per tweet and conversations now take place in the form of emojis. Wurst, Smarkola, and Gaffney state that students who use laptops in class report low satisfaction with their education, are more likely to multitask in class, and are more distracted.

“Student self-reports and classroom observations suggest that laptops are being used for non-academic purposes, such as instant messaging and playing games, checking email and watching movies, and browsing the Internet” (Sana 2013).

So does the Internet really distract students rather then help them academically? In my own experience, I believe that the Internet and technological devices have the potential to be beneficial although in most contexts are not used in this way. Sitting in many of my university lectures, I can guarantee that almost every person with a device in front of them will have another Internet tab open that they will be flicking between. I find that it can be useful to gain extra knowledge on a topic a lecturer may not go into depth with, and think it’s an easier way of catching up if you’re falling behind by simply looking at the lecture slides and taking notes.

After looking at all the information behind the concept of our attention span, I decided to observe my mum’s attention span for the night. Sitting down to watch her 7:00pm program being unable to do it with out picking up her knitting needles. After about 15 minutes, she then moves from the lounge room to the kitchen to prepare dinner, before being distracted by my sister and her work talking over the top of the television program. After that, she will then return to cook dinner and gossip about her day whilst the television is still playing her program in the lounge room before she serves dinner on the table for everyone to eat and by this time of course the program is over. But is it any surprise that the next night she will question particular scenes within the show as she missed them when she was already preoccupied?
Her response to this was that she can’t just sit in front of the television she always has to be doing something and usually that’s knitting, and through any form of multitasking she feels as though she’s not as well engaged with the show as she could be.

Do you believe that our attention span (or lack of attention span) is influenced by our media use? Can you reflect upon a time where your use of media affected or caused you to defer a specific task you were trying to complete?
Leave your response in the comments below or interact via twitter @katee_scott.

Our attention span allows us to focus, but with the integration of technology and media  in our daily lives we have to be able to recognise the influence it has on our memory and ability to multitask. Check out Todd’s blog post as he takes a different approach through the Channel Ten Networks show ‘Have You Been Paying Attention’ where Australian ‘celebrities’ and comedians are quizzed on the current events occurring in the media sphere.

Brooks, D 2015, Building Attention Span, New York Times. Accessed on 27 September 2015, <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/opinion/david-brooks-building-attention-span.html>
Ceped, N., Weston, T. and Sana, F 2013, Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers, Science Direct. Accessed on 27 September 21-5, <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131512002254/>
Gausby A, 2015, Attention spans, Consumer Insights, Microsoft Canada. Accessed on 27 September 2015,<https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/490916/mod_resource/content/1/microsoft-attention-spans-research-report.pdf&gt>
Porter, D 2012, Second Screens Are the Obvious Target for Advertisers Now, Mail Big File Blog. Accessed on 27 September 2015, <http://blog.mailbigfile.com/tech/second-screens-are-the-obvious-target-for-advertisers-now/>

Social Taboo Or Art? The Ethics Behind Street Photography

Street photography is perceived as an art form used to document city life and society in a specific period of time capturing real life moments as they unfold, but contrasting this idea is that it can also be seen as an egregious violation of personal sovereignty as David K Sutton states in his blog ‘Is Street Photography A Violation Of Privacy, Or Ethics?‘.

Ironically, today everything we do is becoming increasingly captured on digital surveillance- whether is be at the ATM, in a shop, or even at a set of traffic lights – and due to this public awareness is increasing as opinions and debates form around the topic of street photography.

In BBC’s question and answer with street photographer Eric Kim he states that:

“in most societies around the world it is considered impolite or a social taboo to photograph someone without their permission (or without them knowing).”

Although is it street photography itself the ethical issue, or rather the problems that arise from tactics that are used creating potentially conflicting motives and conceptions that occur between the photographer’s opinions and the public concerns that pose ethical dilemmas. For example do you believe that homeless people should be photographed as a form of art? (Leave your response in the comments below or engage on Twitter at @katee_scott). 

In the image above (Bole 2011) you can see the distasteful image of a homeless man, although is something like this necessary to raise awareness of the atrocious living conditions of members within our society?

This week I decided to visit Central Station and observe the interaction of individuals in an urban public space and by playing the role of a photographer to capture the life of a typical Sydney-sider in today’s evolving city. The photo was captured at 9:30am on a Monday, whereby I was discreetly standing in a quite corner overlooking the main entry/exit to the station. With individuals in the realm of their everyday life oblivious to my presence does it seem ethically acceptable? Photographers generally make the assumption that provided you’re in a public space you can take any picture you want and in a legal sense that is true. But what if someone doesn’t want to appear in a photograph? Do you do it anyway?

Through research and observation, the ethics of street photography become intertwined due to photographers beliefs in comparison to societies concerns. As Madeline Greig states in her blog she believes

“the best way to use ethnography in studying photograph ethics is to not be aware of who or what you’re taking photos of. The purpose is not to stand there and take photos of people intentionally to get a reaction or to be searching for people taking photos of you, but to do unknowingly.”

I believe this is a strong statement due to ethics being present in the eye of the beholder (in this instance the photographer). If you take an image which you believe is exploiting another person, you probably are and this is due to you having the final power to determine what is and isn’t ethical.

BBC Religion & Ethics, (2013). Q&A: The ethics of street photography, viewed 14 September, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/21532400>.
Colberg, J 2013. ‘Ethics of Street Photography’, Conscientious Extended, 3 April, <http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/the_ethics_of_street_photography/>
Kim, E (2011). Are There Any Ethics in Street Photography?. [online] Eric Kim Blog, viewed 14 September, <http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/01/26/are-there-any-ethics-in-street-photography/>.
Sutton, D (2014). Is Street Photography A Violation Of Privacy, Or Ethics?. David K. Sutton Photography Blog, viewed 14 September,<http://blog.davidksutton.com/594/is-street-photography-a-violation-of-privacy-or-ethics>.

Technology – Cinemas Friend Or Foe?

The Australian Film Industry is in dire straits with box office takings being evidence of this downward trajectory. Although the blame in the decline tends to be due to consumption, with a large increase in online consumption of film and television content.

As stated in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“The film and television industry in Australia contributes almost three times as much to the economy as do internet service provides.”

In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of why cinema attendance is declining, we are able to turn our focus to Torsten Hägerstrand’s conceptual framework of time geography.  The way humans are reduced to actors following certain to and from locations determined primarily three constraints:

Capability: refers to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors.

Coupling: refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people.

Authority: is an area that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups.

By attending a movie session last week, I was able to reflect upon my personal experience whilst relating it to Hägerstrand’s constraints.

The first constraint is capability. Just by simply asking “can I get there?” with each one of us having a car and a license this didn’t really prove to be a constraint for us, yet was rather quite efficient.

The second constraint was coupling, “can we get there on time?” for a 9pm movie session on a Saturday night. For my friends and I this didn’t really prove to be a constraint, although changing nights to a week night would’ve changed this due to clashes with university and work schedules. After one of my friends suggested the movie Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, we left enough time to buy tickets allowing for time to line up in the queue, and enough time to visit the candy bar because what’s a movie experience without popcorn, right? The purchase of our tickets cost $17.50 at the discounted student price although due to Event Cinemas being allocated seating, and someone already occupying our seat and refusing to move we then had to sit elsewhere, in someone else’s seats in the middle towards the front of the cinema.

The final constraint being authority, queries whether or not we’re allowed to be there. The movie is rated M, but as we are aged 18 through to 20, we were all allowed to legally view the movie.

In this instance, Hägerstrand’s three constraints did not have a large impact on our movie-going experience. However ask me to go during the week, early in the morning or during exam period and there would definitely be a list of constraints.

When adapting the decline in cinema attendance to Hägerstrand’s three constraints, individuals may take on board the costs of tickets and the comfort of your own home with accessibility to any movie or television show at your convenience and as Luke Buckmaster states:

“Australian cinema is still big, it’s the audience that got small.”

Next time you go to the movies, see how these constraints affect or enhance your experience. Leave your outcomes in the comments below, or engage on Twitter at @katee_scott.

Buckmaster, L 2014, ‘Australian Cinema Is Still Big, It’s The Audience That Got Small’, Daily Review: film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more, viewed 30th August 15, http://dailyreview.com.au/australian-cinema-is-still-big-its-the-audience-that-got-small/11426
Corbett, J 2001, ‘Torsten Hagerstrand: Time Geography’, Center for spacially Intergrated Social Science, viewed 30th August 15, http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/29
Quinn, K 2015, ‘Film and TV industry value declining, online growing but contributing little to GD, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 30th August 15, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/film-and-tv-industry-value-declining-online-growing-but-contributing-little-to-gdp-20150211-13c231.html
Turnbull, S 2015, Cinemas: Strangers in public, lecture notes distributed in Media, Audience and Place 240 at The University of Wollongong on 31st August 2015.

Are You Lagging Behind?

“Who used all the internet?”

A question that many of generation Z (1995-2009) families would be familiar with, but compare it to what our parents would have experienced:

“Who used all the hot water?”

By looking at these two simple questions that occur within family homes across the country, it becomes clear that there is a large generational gap in the way we’ve adapted to the technology available around us. As Boyd states:

“…teens are “digital natives,” and adults, supposedly less knowledgeable about technology and less capable of developing these skills, are “digital immigrants.”

Two digital cultures that are undeniably different, and by speaking to my mum (Wendy) I was able to gain insight on her first hand experience of the Internet. One of the most significant changes that she brought to my attention was the amount of data usage we were allowed to incur each month, when we first got Internet access in our house it was at 5 gigabytes, which today would be lucky to get us through a week and as she said “as my children grew so did the internet usage and so did the bill” and therefore the family upgraded to unlimited and that’s no surprise when looking at the number of devices we have connected today. A total of 14 devices across 4 members of the family it definitely makes it hard to imagine life without my technological gadgets or broadband access.

Another advancement that has occurred due to the development of technology and the Internet in terms of privacy is the concept of location services, and as Brad Stone states in his article The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s:

“the idea of a phone or any other device that is persistently aware of its location and screams out its geographic coordinates, even if only to friends, might seem spooky to older age groups.”

And after discussing this with my parents it was also reflected upon when they transferred to paying bills and shopping online, as they began to question whether payments were secure and ensuring that others could not access their private information.

At the end of 2014, 99% of Australians had access to broadband networks (ABS), and in todays society the National Broadband Network is becoming introduced allowing for a faster, more efficient, reliable and affordable phone and internet service, although it is currently not available in my local area.

However, I believe over time members of different generational groups will adapt and share their different cultural experiences that arose from the development and perhaps we may even end up speaking different languages and slang on the same digital network.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or engage on Twitter at @katee_scott.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2014, ‘8153.0 – Internet Activity, Australia, December 2014’. Abs.gov.au. N.p., 2015. Web. Accessed 19 Aug 2015. < http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0/>
Boyd, Danah, 2014. It’s Complicated. United States of America: Yale University Press, pp.109. Accessed 19 Aug 2015. < http://www.danah.org/books/ItsComplicated.pdf>
Stone, Brad. ‘The Children Of Cyberspace: Old Fogies By Their 20S’. Nytimes.com. N.p., 2010. Web. Accessed 19 Aug 2015. < http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10stone.html?_r=0>

WHY did 22.158 million Australians watch broadcast television?

Ethnographic research is particularly important when it comes to analysing processes that enable companies or agencies to gain insight into a target users natural, real-world setting. As Buchanan defined it as an

“anthropological research based on direct or participant observation of a select group of people’s way of life”

Eric Lassiter further defined the term using it’s collaborative nature as

“we cannot possibly carry out our unique craft without engaging others in the context of their real, everyday lives.”

Basically to simplify this concept, it involves combining statistics and people, but rather then using numbers to depict quantity it is used as more of a qualitative approach through questioning ‘why’ something happens or occurs the way it does, therefore endeavouring to measure real life behaviour.

The concept of collaborative ethnography can seem quite difficult to grasp and understand. By using the example of OzTAM’s 2015 Australian Multi-Screen Report and my previous interview with Wendy ‘Television Kill The Radio Star’ I will connect aspects of collaborate ethnography to qualitative research I have undertaken. OzTAM’s 2015 report uses quantitative information to represent the household intake of new technology and the trends that occur across major age groups. The focus is placed on broadcast television and videos across multiple screens.

Using Wendy’s childhood experience with television it focused mainly on the family traditions associated with the introduction of the device into the typical Australian home.

…We all loved watching TV as it was considered family time where we all got to sit together and watch our favourite shows after dinner.

It provided excellent insight into how the introduction of the television changed the family’s way of spending time together, shifting from a family based leisure activity to more of an individual based leisure activity today. This coincides with the quantitative data that OzTAM associates with, which reports on the viewing methods of the “22.158 million Australians (who) watched at least some broadcast television each month during Q1 2015” although using figures to represent this data there is not explanation or reason behind these patterns therefore taking value away from what this means to someone consuming the information.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.09.43 pm


Whilst statistics like those shown above are informative, individual perceptions and preferences of media use and experience should also be relevant in a researchers studies as it provides reasoning and leverages diversity, which can really only be achieved through the qualitative data that occurs from taking part in collaborative ethnography.

When reflecting on my interview with Wendy, it is clear that I was able to discover her families television habits, preferences and reasons why these occurred due to taking a collaborative and qualitative approach to the situation.

When I asked, “how did you feel watching television” she responded by saying “happy. Television in our household was commonly associated with good memories and spending time together with the family.”

This data evokes emotion which is not obtainable through quantitative data and statistics but rather by collaborate ethnography. The interview then allowed me to reflect upon my experience with media platforms and devices and the way they’ve become adapted and interpreted into my generation.

But in conclusion, I guess we will never really understand why “22.158 million Australians watched at least some broadcast television each month during Q1 2015” as commercial industries steer clear of collaborative ethnography. Although if this was one day to change and broadcasting companies began to take a more collaborative ethnographic approach to data it would redefine the way trends and changing patterns of media are to be consumed by the audience.

Bowles, K., 2015, ‘Lecture 3: Measuring the Audience’, BCM240: Media Audience and Place, Lecture, 10 August 2015, University of Wollongong
Buchanan, I. 2010, ‘Ethnography’ in Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory, Oxford University Press Inc., New York, pp. 155.
Lassiter, L. 2005, Defining A Collaborative Ethnography, University of Chicago Press, viewed 14 August 2015, http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html
Regional TAM, OzTAM & Nielson, 2015, Australian Multi-Screen Report: Quarter 1 2015http://www.oztam.com.au/documents/Other/MultiScreenReport_Q1-2015-Final%20amended%20P7.pdf

Television Killed The Radio Star

In todays society television is a core element of a family’s living room, size almost depicting pride amongst family and friends. Growing up where electronic entertainment is almost instantaneous with your favourite TV program just the touch of a screen away it is hard for todays generation to imagine life without it. I decided to interview my mum, Wendy, as she grew up with a small black and white family television with a vastly different experience and upbringing.

Can you imagine a time where instead of watching dramas at home on a screen, people listened to them on the radio? My mother’s generation witnessed a tremendous change to the media platform as they began to embrace television and the introduction of not only black and white screen but also the first coloured television.

My mother (born in the 1960s) grew up in a small town North-West of Sydney, in which she lived with her immediate family consisting of her mother, father and two brothers. When asked the question, “What do you remember about the television in your house?” she replied with “it was a small black and white television that looked like a large box, and always had fuzzy lines because of a V-shaped antenna on top that had to be adjusted depending on what channel you watched.”


The television similar to our household today, was located in the lounge room “standing in the corner on four legs” creating sibling rivalry as arguments rose about who got to sit on the floor directly in front of it. There was only one television set in the household that was common during the 1960s.

When asked about memories associated with the television, mum recalled watching shows such as Mr Ed – The Talking Horse, Tom & Jerry, The Partridge Family, Casper The Ghost and lots of other cartoons.
Here is the intro to the popular children’s situation comedy show known as Mr Ed

The clip represents one of my mother’s most watched shows from her childhood shown on CBS television broadcast between 1961 and 1966.

With the introduction of colour television in the 1970s, my mum distinctly remembers how it was still “quite boxy and stood on four legs in the corner of the lounge room, but had a larger screen than the black and white TV.”

It was quite interesting to discuss the memories that are passed in conversation when discussing such a significant time. One memory that I will never forget my Grandma telling my sister and I as young children, and one that I’m sure mum will never forget too, occurred when she was 13-14 years old. Mum reflects on how she was one of the first of her friends whose family owned a colour television, and therefore got three of her girlfriends over to watch The Bay City Rollers special (and for those in younger generations who may not know who Bay City Rollers are, they were a Scottish pop band of high popularity in the 1970s). She remembers her mum sitting in the room with them before she saw them all on TV, when speaking with mum she said “we got caught out because we all wagged school without our parents knowing and went to Channel 7 two streets away from where we lived to see it live.” One experience I’m sure they’ll never forget after getting grounded for two months, but maybe it was all worth it as they got to meet their favourite band. Mum states the way “it’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time.”

Back then in her family, television time was commonly after dinner where the children were allowed to sit in front of the television and deemed a sense of family bonding. She remembers that there was only limited channels – today we make think of that as not having Foxtel or Netflix, but at the time it literally meant having only two or three channels to watch, and therefore agreements between the family were easily made on what show was suitable to watch.

The development of television from the early days until now tends to bring the family together for quality time. It is evident that television is taken for granted in todays society with an example of my household containing four TV’s some running whilst no one is watching them. After interviewing my mum it has allowed me to reflect on the huge plasma televisions, computers, tablets and even phones that children and my generation today are so familiar with. My mum has engaged with the evolution of technology moving from just one black and white television, to use an iPad, smart phone and smart TV she states the way she “still enjoys watching TV to this day.”


Ask me to introduce myself…
My name is Kate Scott, I am 19 years old and a second year Communication and Media (majoring in Advertising and Marketing) & Creative Arts (majoring in Graphic Design) student. I have occupied the media space since a young age effecting both what I consume and how I interact with the world around me.

From youth onwards, our generation has become immersed in a technologically obsessed culture that surrounds many aspects of our lives today. Growing up in a generation where technology and gadgets are almost equally as important as food and toilet paper. A survey by CISCO discovered that around 90% of individuals within Generation Y check their emails, texts and social media accounts using smartphones before getting out of bed, I compulsively do this as a desire to ensure I’m not missing or haven’t missed out on anything whilst I have been asleep by checking all emails, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr almost instantly after I wake up.

Not only is this present due to owning a smartphone, but from the progression of primary school through to university came the introduction of the tamagotchi (a hand held digital pet) to the first generation iPod which is constantly developing. Now where I am today, a university student with smartphone, laptop and iPad observing the commonalities present within lectures. It then becomes present in generations above, such as teaching my parents to use an iPad or even my grandma to use her smartphone.

My interaction and participation in the media space is evident in concept of everything being available online and the touch of a finger. From shopping, to reading the news and watching television it is present that technology plays a major part of our lives.