Media Diary: Summary and Analysis

I’ve gone from observations during the week, to crunching numbers, and now it’s time for summary and analysis.

A caricature of what I imagine a Mass Society Elite would look like.
Figure 1: A caricature of what I imagine a Mass Society Elite would look like.

The primary nature of my media use during the week, was on the computer ( 66.65 hours) and for class (63:20 hours).  Compared to most months in my life, these last few have been odd. But this year I’m working intensively to get my masters, so I can support my family.  And I’ve had to make sacrifices in regard to my usual freedom of variety.  If an original proponent of the Mass Society theory saw what I do every day, they would feel justified in their vision of the future being one where we “become servants to the machines” (Baran & Davis, p. 27).  And they’d be quite proud in proclaiming how the printing press has “subvert[ed] and disrupt[ed] the existing social order” (Ibid., p.28). And though I tend to favor, with the “capitalists,” technological development, and the many goods that it can bring about (Ibid.), I find it hard to place myself as a pure Mass Society theorist.  I do think that the new medias that I use, and the inordinate amount of time I spend producing educational work and absorbing research, with them have provided me a flexibility that heretofore was unknown.

When in the past has a person been able to actively and daily engage in a University, while being 1,057 miles away (door to door)? When has a person been able to switch occupations so quickly, or run a small freelancing business with primary clients who are 2,055 miles away?  Yes I’ve benefited greatly from the technological advances of media, and I’m greatly appreciative of it.  But I do not blindly trust the tools to be good. Because tools are never good nor evil, it is the intentions with which we use them that gives them the title “good” or “evil”.

Figure 2: What I think I do as an academic Hermit
Figure 2: What I think I do as an academic Hermit

The Theorist in me

And it is this regard that I find myself in the realm of desiring a Hermeneutical theory because I want to understand “how and why [social behaviour] occurs” (Ibid., p. 13).  I want to have meaning to use. Which is probably why I blogged for this project.  Because writing is one way that I develop my understandings.  Additionally, coming from a science background I have a strong understanding of the power of experiment in investigations.  So likewise I tend to have a post-positivist slant.  And though “intersubjective agreement” (Ibid., p.12) is something that gives the scientist in me the shivers, the hermeneuticist in me negotiates that it is the best one can really achieve in a theory involving people.  And on top of that I find that I’m a bit of a believer in the school of “British cultural studies,” given that I think media propagates and reinforces a dominant culture (Ibid., p34). So with that all said, I find myself currently as a Hermeneutic post-positivist with leanings of British cultural studies. It’s a complicated relationship trust me, but “as John D. Barrow wrote ‘A world that [is] simple enough to be fully known would be too simple to contain the conscious observers who might know it’” (Ibid., p. 5)

Unfortunately, I already keep logs of my work hours. Since I freelance, I like to know how I spend my time.  So no one really noticed what I was doing, and only one person has posted a comment on my blog’s link on Facebook.  A friend of mine commented how her daughter (they just moved to Spain) goes to a book-less school, where everyone gets a tablet, and how her daughter loves it.

Hermit Crab
Figure 3: What my wife thinks I do

To be more human

In addition to using media for work and school, I do use it to enhance my experience of life, to be more “human”. For example out of the 9 hours and 4 minutes that I multi-tasked, all but 24 minutes was a successful enhancement of the primary activity.   And 5 hours and 13 minutes of that overall time I utilized entertainment media to complement my work, and stimulate my attention (again with those 24 minutes of “failed” time).  Additionally I discovered that the multitasking that I do while relaxing can best be described as methods of “de-focusing.”  I spend so much time working and hyper focused, that I need time for my mind to wander (and heal in my opinion). And multi-tasking, forces a wandering situation, which I think is beneficial to health and creativity. And I think I might actually apply the principle of “de-focusing” more consciously now that I’ve seen it.

In regards to relational media, I think that I do use media for qualitatively good connections with people, that I wouldn’t be able to have without it.  For example, I chatted with an old friend from when I attended Iowa State University as an undergrad, and who I haven’t talked with for maybe 6 years. I also video chatted with family in Connecticut at one point, and I text and email with my local family as well as my family in Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.  Not to mention my friend who was travelling on work, but lives in Ohio.  Our current media greatly enhances my life and relationships, especially as an Academic hermit this year.

To be more “me”

Spatial Intelligence
Figure 4: Spatial Intelligence
Self Intelligence
Figure 5: Self Intelligence
Social Intelligence
Figure 6: Social Intelligence
Other Intelligences
Figure 7: Other Intelligences

Given my tendency towards the spatial, self and social intelligences of Gardner (Multiple), you’d think I’d want to be out doing something more than just sitting and studying. And you’d be right. I would rather be doing that, but I also really enjoy that self intelligence. That  explains why I love learning and “Set aside time to reflect on new ideas and information”, as well as why I love to “work on the computer” (Multiple).  And perhaps these three intelligences explain why I prefer to harness and create media than be a complete consumer.

All in all I think new media is a tool that can be used to great effect, and we need to investigate how and why people use the tools. By doing so,  we can increase benefits and effectiveness of current tools, aid in developing future iterations, and live more “human” lives.


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Bibliography:

Baran, S., and Davis, D. (2012) Mass Communication Theory:Foundations, Ferment, and Future. 6th Edition. US: Cengage.

Multiple Intelligences for Adult Literacy and Education. (n.d.) Assessment Find your Strengths! Retrieved from http://www.literacynet.org/mi/assessment/cgi-bin/results.cgi

Figure 1: British Cartoon Prints Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (n.d.) Lodging to Let. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALodgings_to_let_LCCN92522495.tif

Figure 2: Hovhannes, artist of the XVIII century [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (18th Century) Mesrop. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMesrop1776t.jpg

Figure 3: ZooFari (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (n.d.) Hermit Crab. Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/Hermit-Crab.jpg

Figures 4-7:  Multiple Intelligences for Adult Literacy and Education. (n.d.) Assessment Find your Strengths! Retrieved from http://www.literacynet.org/mi/assessment/cgi-bin/results.cgi

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