Category Archives: probe

For 11/13: Personal media audit… Further analysis and/or action

Now that you’ve assembled your data and commented on something you learned last week, continue your analysis—or take action?—by doing one of the following:

  • Producing an image (for instance, a chart or graph) that lets you picture large or small patterns in your media use
    • you could use Google docs or Excel (on Microsoft Office 365, available to all UGA students) to produce a chart
    • then include an upload of an image of your graph or chart via WordPress’s “Add Media”/upload function
  • Gather another day’s data to help answer any questions or confirm any patterns suggested by last week’s results
  • Experiment with modifying your use of media: how, which, where, when, and/or how much

For this week’s blog entry, summarize and discuss your work. Include an image or perhaps some sample data when relevant.

Blog Post #10 11/6: Media Autoethnography

Something I found interesting after keeping a log of my social media usage for a couple days this past week is that whether it was the weekday or the weekend, my media usage seemed to remain consistent. The frequency of on both school days and days without school appeared to be pretty much the same, despite the fact that my activities for each day where not.

After realizing this, I am now very intrigued by my media usage habits because I think that perhaps my focus in my classes is not the only thing being affected negatively, but so is my studying outside of class (whether it is a weekday or the weekend). The weekday I chose to document my media usage, or last Thursday, I had one class, Microeconomics. Even though I only had this one class the whole day, I had problems focusing the whole hour and 15 minutes of it. To compare, whenever I worked on school throughout both the rest of the day and also Saturday, I continued to have problems with focus due to an overuse of media.

Since my Microeconomics class is easy to make up, and additionally my professor posts all her lecture notes after class without fail, these were probably contributing factors to a higher probability that I gravitated towards my phone and specifically to the many types of social media (Facebook, Social Media, Snapchat) in class. It was very easy to lose focus during the lecture because sometimes her voice is monotone, and therefore I ended up using my phone at a much more frequent rate than I maybe I need to be.

Similarly, the same thing seemed to happen when I was trying to study for the remainder of Thursday and for Saturday as well. No matter what time I decided to try to study, I still was distracted or checking my phone for a good portion of the time or at about the same consistent frequency generally as when I was actually in class. Overall, perhaps this is a sign that I need to work to minimize the presence of media usage in my life in order to focus more, be able to work, and to actually remember that the reason I’m at UGA at the end of the day is to get a degree.


Probe this week: Media Autoethnography

Here are copies of the assignment I handed out in class and the media log sheets.

If you missed class, please do note that this assignment asks you to log your media use on a weekday and a weekend day this week.

For Sunday (11/6),  post a blog entry about something interesting, surprising, or important that you’ve learned about your own media usage just from logging it and accumulating your raw data. Be specific in your comments. Give examples, tell stories, or refer to things you logged on these days.

Blog Post #7 10/9: Social Media Interview

For the probe this week, interviewing someone with social media practices different than my own, I decided to interview one of my hallmates. By creating her first social media account in 6th grade, when she was just 12 years old, she began her relationship with social media at a relatively early age.

Facebook was the first account. Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter all came later, with the creation of her Instagram account halfway through 8th grade, and the creation of her Snapchat and Twitter accounts about a year after that. Throughout time, her use of social media has definitely evolved. For example, once high school began, she stopped using Facebook altogether and then she began to focus her attention primarily on the other three social media platforms.

In fact, she did not start using Facebook again until about halfway through her senior year of high school. Around December of 2015, she decided to finally “clean up” her account by unfriending people she wasn’t actually friends with in real life and getting rid of old posts and pictures from middle school. Additionally, she began using Facebook differently when it came time to search for a roommate through the UGA Class of 2020 Facebook group.

Today, she still consistently uses Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, and sometimes Facebook. On a day to day basis, she says she uses social media probably about 45 minutes total. With Snapchat being the social media platform that she uses the most, she states, “I like to use it to communicate with people and to see what my friends are doing every day through their stories.” For Instagram and Twitter, the other two social media platforms she uses most frequently, it’s interesting because she uses them about the same amount of time on a regular basis, just in different ways.

For Instagram, she explains, “I use it as a way to post quality pictures and as a way to look at other people’s lives (sort of similar to Snapchat in this respect),” however, for Twitter, she states, “I use it as a form of entertainment. There are constantly funny tweets that people post, and in addition, Twitter can be a good way to stay informed about all that’s going on the world (when it’s accurate, which is rare).” Finally, though her Facebook usage is less frequent, the social media platform does still does have its uses. She says, “I use Facebook primarily for the purpose of staying connected with and updated for the clubs I’m involved in on campus.”

Finally, what I found most interesting about my friend’s social media usage was how well she knew each of the followers or friends across all her social media accounts. As stated earlier, she does know almost all of her Facebook friends in real life, about 90% to be exact. The remaining 10% are people she friended when she was looking for a roommate, who now also attend UGA as a part of the freshman class. Similarly, in regards to both Twitter and Snapchat, she knows almost all her followers and friends, the only anomalies being a few celebrities. If fact, the only social media platform where she doesn’t know almost everyone she interacts with is Instagram. She says she knows about half of her followers, but she keeps her account private so she has to approve every follow request she receives.

Overall, it was very intriguing to find out more about my friend’s habits. She definitely uses all the platforms in ways that are similar, but also very different to my own. Because I don’t have a Twitter account, I found it especially interesting to hear about how she uses that platform in particular. Additionally, in learning about how many of her friends or followers she knows in real life, it was surprising to see how many people she had met in person and actually knew, on Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter at least.  Generally, I now feel like my perspective on the different types of social media has broadened in ways I have never experienced before after the completion of this interview; it was eye-opening to find out more about each of these social media platforms through someone else’s viewpoint.

“Probe” due 10/9: Brief interview of someone whose social media use differs from yours

Assignment: Interview someone (a friend, roommate, relative, random stranger—hmm, that might be weird) whose social media use differs from yours. You should take notes, but you do not need to transcribe the whole interview or to paste everything into the blog.

Rather, reflect on what you’ve learned and write a blog post highlighting the most interesting things you find about your interviewee’s social media habits and practices. (You can mention any aspects of your interviewee’s background or identity that seem relevant, but we definitely don’t need to know your interviewee’s name, Twitter handle, etc.)

Some questions to get things started (you can ask more interesting questions and more focused follow-up questions!):

  • How frequently do you access social media?
    • (Hourly? Daily? Weekly? Etc.)
    • When do you usually post or check your social media platforms?
  • Which social media networks do you use?
    • On which of these are you most active?
  • What do you use social media for?
    • What features do you use on each platform?
    • What do you share on each platform?
    • Do you use different platforms for different things? How so?
  • How do you access the various social media you use?
  • Whom do you interact with on the social media you use?
    • How many of your friends/followers/etc. do you know in real life?
  • How do you use privacy features on your social media platforms of choice?
  • Would it concern you if a person in a position of authority (a parent, employer, professor) were to come across your online profile and the things you’ve shared?
  • Do you engage with “brands”/businesses on social media? How and where?
  • Do you ever take note of the advertising on social media? What do you notice?
  • How has your social media use changed over time?
    • Are there social media platforms you no longer use?

Blog Post #2 8/28: Writing a Letter

As it becomes less and less common to utilize the letter as a way to communicate, it also becomes more and more interesting to see what happens when you do write one in this day and age.  When it came time for me to do this very task, I decided to write to my best friend back home from Colorado.

Because we have known each other since 1st grade, you would think it would be easy to write her a letter of a decent length. Truthfully, it was, since we can usually talk for hours in person. However, at the same time, because technology is such an integral part of our society, it was definitely different trying my hand at such a different type of communication.

Since we mostly contact each other by texts and calls now, this felt much different. The thing that was difficult was writing with the thought in mind that each word I wrote became our entire conversation in and of itself. By expecting a long wait time until her response, I felt like I needed to include both questions about how she was doing and the specifics of her life in Colorado, but also how I was doing and what’s been going on with me here in Georgia all at the same time.

Though letters do not have to be long, I found it refreshing to create a long response rather than a short one. The short bursts of messages sent in a matter of seconds virtually just don’t have the same amount of meaning, or the feeling that someone took aside more than one minute of their time to write out their thoughts, elicit a response, and interact with family and friends in a way unlike any other. I’m glad I got to try out this form of communication, and I would like to continue occasionally sending letters through the mail in order to reignite a human connection that is centrally infused within the thoughts written with pen and paper.

Week two: writing a letter

Your assignment (due Sunday night) is to write a post-able letter to someone who doesn’t live near you/whom you don’t see all the time these days. Then write a paragraph analyzing or reflecting on the experience, the letter, letters as a medium, your history with written letters, or using such an old (obsolete?) medium in a digital world.

Reading: for Monday:  On letters in the digital age

Resource on letter writing (intended for kids in UK but still interesting!)

Remember to bring your letter and your recipient’s postal address to class on Monday… the envelopes and domestic stamps are on me! 

(Sorry to be slow off the mark with this posting—but I love the fact that some folks have already beaten me to the punch with thoughtful posts!)