Pokemon Go Home: Public Phone Usage

People using their phones out in public is nothing new and has increased largely in terms of social acceptance. Ten years ago it was rude to have your mobiles out while involved in a conversation. Now we all hold our phones in our hands when we’re socialising, even at formal events like weddings.

This normalcy and frequency of public phone usage is changing the world’s social landscape. Technology is seeping into every form of socialisation and group activities, replacing verbal exchange between parties by locking our eyes and attention to a screen. Where before dinner was strictly no screens allowed, the television now plays in the background while we eat at the table in silence. Particularly noticeable in the younger demographic, we now get together at cafe’s with a group of friends and all sit scrolling through Facebook.

Our lives can seemingly be lived through our phones, with an app happy generation progressively finding an app for pretty much everything. Tinder was a real break through in what-the-fuck-is-society-turning-into technology. Never fear awkward encounters, small talk about the weather or actually chatting to a real life human: now we have an app for when you’re horny so you can basically shop for a hook-up. Add to cart. Swipe left. Or right. I don’t know. That’s going straight in my basket.

We all knew the progression of our technology crazed society would bring some pretty stupid innovations; enter Pokemon Go where you *Go* around chucking balls at things. Get it? Because it’s Pokemon on-the-go. Genius. Make no mistake, it’s all virtual; anyone with real balls probably doesn’t play this dumb-ass game.

First off, here’s some stats to educate ourselves about this goldmine of an app (Expanded Ramblings 2016)

  • On its busiest day Pokemon Go had 25 million users
  • 60% of users are male, 40% female
  • The Japanese police issued 727 tickets for Pokemon Go related offences within the first two weeks of its release
  • Users have walked an estimated 4.5 billion kilometres catching Pokemon
  • There are a currently estimated 30 million users

Congrats, Pokemon Go developers. Your app has successfully sent humans chasing after little animals that look like various forms of the numbered experiments from Lilo & Stitch over the farthest distance Neptune has ever been from the sun. Apart from that there is little evidence to have us believe it has done much more.

In an argument for Pokemon Go, the app aims to meld the virtual world with the physical by bringing the game into the natural environment and getting everyone outside to breathe in the fresh oxygen. What a feat. However, instead of going somewhere and soaking in the view, Pokemon Go makes you look at the scenery that you’re standing in on the screen in front of you, completely defeating the purpose of venturing outside.

On that same note, before Pokemon Go we were at least keeping morons with technology indoors. Now they’re running around outside where there are people trying to do actual things.Our favourite cafes and hang outs are being turned into Poke` stops with people milling around, taking up all the seats, blocking all the entrances and generally disrupting the peace as they break their phone screens in an attempt to win whatever the hell the prize is. Peel your eyes away from your Pikachu’s and observe the following behaviour that is consistent pretty much everywhere amongst Pokemon Goers:

The game is pretty much one giant accident waiting to happen. On a lovely spring day I decided to soak up the sunshine and was jogging past a Poke` hot spot only to be rebuffed by a large group of idiots with their heads down, eyes on their phones and blocking the entire pathway. Another day I was driving along to see a man cycling down the side of the road right near the same hot spot, swiping away on his phone as cars drove right beside him. Do not Pokemon and pedal, kids. There’s already been a ridiculous amount of car accidents with people stopping unexpectedly, jumping out of vehicles and swerving onto the opposite side of the road in their attempt to ‘catch them all’. The only thing catching here is idiocy. Before we know it people will be wading into oceans and walking off cliffs after these little monsters. I see a law suit on the horizon.

It’s a sad day where someone says “gym” and you’re not sure if they mean fitness or trying to battle someone for a Pokemon. Rest assured if someone starts creeping on you in public with their phone as if they’re filming you, you’re probably sitting on Poliwag, or Poliwhirl, or Poliwrath. Until the next craze, ya’ll have fun flinging fireballs at imaginary creatures while we take a serious look at what the world has become.

Sources:

Smith, Craig 2016, Pokemon Go Statistics, Expanded Ramblings, viewed 20th September 2016

 

 

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Cinema Club

When casting my mind back I found it difficult to remember the last time I visited the cinema. As a broke university student who can’t afford nice things, cinema trips do fall into the category of unnecessary wants. Now I really only go if it’s an organised group event and a movie that I really want to see.

On that note, is cinema attendance something that’s changing because of the Internet? Originally the theatre was the only place where you could see a movie when it was first released. Now movies are easily pirated and uploaded on several websites for people to download or stream at home. Does the theatre offer enough in terms of quality and experience for people to bypass this option?

Let’s be real, we all stream our favourite T.V shows and movies. Sometimes it’s easy; type in Game of Thrones and you’ll be given a plethora of websites to choose from. Other times it’s completely frustrating and not at all worth it. We’re all familiar with those instances when you go to sit down and watch something and an hour later you’re still loading a movie after going through several links that ask you to purchase a subscription to their website and have closed down several “Congratulations you’ve won!” ads. In this situation you’re definitely not the winner as when the movie finally loads it’s poor, blurry quality and you just can’t ignore the fact that the sound is out of sync with the footage for the next two hours.

Hagerstrand (1970) identified three constraints that can be applied when going to the movies:

  • Coupling constraints – Limits on where and when the activity takes place. This applies to how long movies are screened in cinemas and people’s proximity to a cinema. People may not have the time to see a movie they want while it is showing or those living in rural areas may not have access to a cinema they can easily get to.
  • Capability constraints – limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors, for example sleeping, eating and financial resources. Price is a large factor in the decision process of whether or not to go as the cost of seeing a single movie is gradually increasing.
  • Authority constraints– limits on when activities can or cannot take place or be located, imposed by external parties constraint controls the behaviour of people participating in an activity. Movie goers are expected to stay in allotted seats, turn off phones and stay silent throughout the showing, which may sway people to viewing it in their own home instead.

The last movie I attended was the final ‘Hunger Games’ with my sister last Summer. A student ticket at Hoyts was almost $20, and extras such as popcorn and drinks tend to bring the price up close to $30. Popular movies like this tend to still bring people to cinemas as they can then join in the conversation about the movie with friends and on social media without having it spoiled. However, with sites such as Netflix and the introduction of a television with Internet access, the home provides a more comfortable and private environment where people can socialise throughout the movie and conform to their own rules. Will this win out over the social activity and novelty of going to the movies?

 

 

Introducing the Internet

internet

Ah, the Internet. The world we know now would not be possible at all without it as everything around us is converging online.

The introduction of the internet is a topic that’s a little closer to home for our generation, although our earliest memories still probably involve instant connection and Google with a vague recollection of telephones and downloads stopping when our parents were on the phone for an hour.

Along with the introduction of the television, the internet was a huge milestone in our technological history. It was an innovation that allowed global communication and an endless amount of content and information at our fingertips, and so complicated that people were quite unsure where to begin using it.

“Compared to what we’re using today, the version of the Internet that first came out seems so simple and basic in comparison. At the time, though, it was so advanced,” said Sarah.

It was particularly integral in its invention for workplaces. “My business wouldn’t exist without it,” says John, a bookkeeper who works for himself. “I’m able to work from my office at home instead of driving to clients in Sydney through email, and through this time I’m saving I’m able to do more work for other clients. You don’t realise how dependant you are on it until there’s a blackout and you can’t automatically connect with clients.”

For our parents, they can easily remember performing their jobs without the Internet. For our age, however, our degree would be non-existent without it. The web has evolved so much that entire jobs are built around it, and we’ll spend our entire careers utilising it and figuring it out. When it comes to communication purposes for workplaces there’s no replacement for it, with so many businesses with online profiles and constant communication via email.

“I’m always on my email. For work, and especially to keep in contact with friends that moved to the States. I even email John throughout my work day,” Sarah laughs.

In the home, Sarah and John use a broadband wireless network that works quite efficiently with all different devices. They connect to their wifi with the main computer, laptops, the iPad and mobiles.

“The internet has become much more frequently used in the last couple of years, especially with Apple products, like their phones and iPads, that are easier to use and have lots of features on them,” Sarah commented.

Always a feature of the house, they have found that Internet usage has increased with the development of devices, apps and the Internet itself. It appears that easy usage and access will allow the Internet to become even more of a staple feature of the family household.

Television Talk

TV

 

Last week we took a trip back into the past and discussed the memories our parents and grandparents had of the early days of television. It’s extremely difficult for us to imagine a time without it and its integration into the family home as a generation where it has always been a staple feature of the living room.
Findings were quite standard across all experiences, with the introduction of television to Australia in 1960, initially in black and white. For our parents, it was introduced around the time they were born, making it an easier incorporation into their routine. For our grandparents, however, it would have been an alien form of advanced technology that would have taken some getting used to. The birth of television and live broadcast symbolised the beginning of a technological revolution, one that was now accessible to the everyday household. Where before families gathered around the table for board games, television was now the centre focus of the night’s activities.
It also symbolised a whole new change in lifestyle and entertainment and the way young children learned about the world through play. Instead of heading outside, kids were spending much more time in front of the television watching programmes such as the Brady Bunch and Skippy. Thus, new habits were born and integrated into the family routine, developing further and further into the familial household activities we partake in now. People were now able to engage in events without being present and start to enter the globalising world of communications and entertainment.
For ethnographers, technology is a continuous study with so many aspects to look into that it’s almost overwhelming. A study that is often so present-day focused, it’s fascinating to look into the beginnings of the huge flurry of technological inventions and innovations that have since been introduced and constantly improved upon. It seems that technologies are converging across platforms and merging together, with the televisions that we know and use now being “smart” with the inclusion of the Internet. This also sparks a change in usage patterns: the amount of usage is definitely increasing, but how are we using it and interacting with it in different ways?
Ethnography answers these questions through undertaking research, involving interviewing, discussion and observation as a means of gaining insight into the habits of others and memories of times we weren’t present for. As such, ethnography can help uncover any problems or issues with people and their environments as it is a more observation focused research method. Ethnography gains an in-depth analysis of the behaviour and patterns of users through its extensive interviewing and observation, therefore proving itself above other research methods that are less personally focused.
In general, however, ethnographic studying of habits does tend to take longer than other research methods. As observation needs to be thorough, ethnographers find that they spend more time to gain this insight into behaviours and usage patterns. Subjects of the study additionally may not be acting completely naturally if they know their actions or the answers they are giving are being published.
While there are both advantages and disadvantages to ethnography, overall the advantages do outweigh these disadvantages as the insightful information gained is a direct observation of usage. Findings are much more useful to ethnographers when analysing human behaviour to determine usage patterns of modern technology.

Introducing Home Entertaiment

family_watching_television_1958

In an age of constant technology updates, we will remember the birth of the iPhone and the creation of Facebook. Our parents, however, recall the introduction of the television into the family home. Most of us don’t think about it as it has become such a staple in the living room, so I talked to my parents about their young memories of television in a society that wasn’t used to it.

The television came to Australia in the 1960’s, the decade that both my parents were born into.

“I don’t remember not having one,” said Sarah. “But it was more of a treat for us when we were children rather than something we were always allowed to do.”

There is definitely a difference between television consumption in their generation compared to ours. In a time when television is so normal it becomes just another activity in our daily lives, and children today are introduced to it much earlier.

My father, John, remembers black and white television for a small time of his early childhood. “When colour came it was so amazing to us. Compared to the T.V’s we have now it’s pretty laughable but at the time it was this huge breakthrough in technology.”

My parents recall watching children’s programmes such as Skippy and the Brady Bunch in the afternoons with their siblings, however they would always go outside and play if they were seeing friends. “Watching television with friends didn’t really start until I was in High School,” Sarah remembered.

 

As they grew older television habits changed as it became a more familiar part of the family home. As is the same with any technology there is a period of adapting and creating habits for future users. I wonder what stories we will be telling our children.

 

Tweet tweet: The every day celebrity

Micro-celebrities

Celebrities always seem like these untouchable creatures living in another bubble. You can follow them on most social media platforms and watch them on television, however there is something very impenetrable and unattainable about their lives that sets them apart from the rest of society. This status, however, is not completely as unachievable as so many people think.

Enter the micro celebrity, someone who is still well-known without living out their lives exclusively in the Hollywood Hills. How has this been able to happen? Social media. Having a social media presence is all about branding yourself and the image you put out to others. People on Twitter are being coveted for various reasons, for example their career or humour. Likewise, many micro celebrities have emerged on the pages of Instagram with envy evoking feeds projecting their lifestyles. Those with a large social media following are indeed building careers from sponsoring or modelling opportunities they gain from this, building a whole new world of the micro famous.

As with the famous being famous for being famous, the micro famous are micro famous for simply being micro famous. Is it a new, society encompassing fame, or is it just the same old?

Intelligence in numbers

News online

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The convergence of media to online platforms has caused several industries to morph, in particular journalism. It is obvious that traditional journalism practices are fast becoming redundant; print media is steadily declining as all information becomes accessible online.

Traditional journalism has moved to citizen journalism, where information gained by people with an online presences is being acknowledged. While some mourn the loss of traditional journalism practices, this age of citizen journalism has led to a far more informed society. Writers are gaining more authority for their individual voices and opinions, and the wide array of information available means that there is a variety of opinions on the same issue, therefore providing numerous angles and perceptions and eliminating control by one publisher.

Big news corporations are fearing for their businesses as citizens begin to take over. The news is all around us and, if we continue to capture it and display it online, we will eliminate the need for any traditional journalism and eradicate the need for gatekeepers.