Congratulations, you now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!


With advancements in technology that is forever growing, our economy has shifted to become one fighting for consumer attention. It’s become an attention economy that rather than being supply based, it’s demand based- assisting and meeting the needs and wants of consumers. The importance and use of media technologies and channels have shifted overtime from traditional media content to mobile devices and social media platforms. With our digital based lifestyles, it’s identified that our attention spans have shortened, inhabiting our ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.

‘Where the attention goes, the money will inevitably flow’ (Ingram, 2015). 


Personally, I believe my attention span is quite long depending on my mindset and the content I’m giving my attention to. If I personally want to concentrate on something, I can set my mind to it but other than that, my mind tends to drift. I become bored and slowly reach out towards my phone to check social media or to just play games. With this in mind, I conducted a simple test, observing my best friend during lunch at a restaurant. This was set as an informal ‘catch up’ but due to it being at a nice restaurant, the context of the lunch was much more formal then planned. I believe this impacted my results as due to the formalities and that it was a one on one meeting, it would be considered quite rude to go on your phone while having lunch and interacting. However, I did notice her eyes glance to her phone whenever she received a notification in which she quickly looked to see if it was anyone important or locked the screen. That being said, her phone was always in easy reach on the table. I could tell when she did become distracted from conversation or while eating in which she would check her phone quickly or check the time.


In saying that, I was no different. I also had my phone right beside me and was glancing over to it whenever I received a notification. It’s like a constant urge that we all try to resist. An urge to have to constantly check our media devices and social media platforms that indefinitely impacts our attention spans. A report by Microsoft Canada identifies in the year 2000, the average human attention span was twelve seconds. In 2013, it decreased to eight seconds. It also identified that the younger generations, 18 to 24 year olds found it harder to concentrate and had shorter attention time spans then those older. This could be due to the increasing technology use and available media that blossomed in the 21st century compared to later generations, thus recognising a correlation between age, new media technologies and evident decreasing attention spans. (Microsoft Canada, 2015).

Microsoft Canada has identified that we have a shorter attention span than a goldish Source:


Being a twenty- year old University student and sitting in one or two hour long lectures and tutorials, I can definitely say from my own personal observations as well as experience, that our age groups’ attention span is definitely decreasing. At the back of a lecture hall, you can easily see the multiple screens students flick through while listening and absorbing lecture- a constant transition between the lecture content and Facebook. Being constantly surrounded by our mobile phone devices and laptops we find the need to constantly cure ourselves from boredom and find something more ‘exciting’ that is indefinitely being presented to us on social media. Sites and apps such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are sucking all our attention. This doesn’t only mean that we are struggling to concentrate on one thing over an extended period of time, it also means other media and content companies must find new ways to attract consumers’ attention, otherwise they will fall behind. This is, the attention economy.

Check out this article by the telegraphy UK and do their quiz to see if you are addicted to your phone and let me know in the comments below what you got!



Consumer insights Microsoft Canada, 2015, ‘Attention Spans’ in Microsoft, pp.2- 17

Ingram, M. 2015, ‘The attention economy and the impulsion of traditional media’ in Fortune.





NIHON Encounters

Digital Asia


The individual research project practices autoethnography by allowing us to document personal experiences of a particular culture, different to my own and brings further research to allow social, cultural and political understandings of the experience. You can say that I’ve basically cheated and went ahead before this semester started by already incorporating myself into a cultural experience.

Earlier, during the break between semester one and two, my friends and I went for a month’s holiday in Japan and South Korea. I vlogged, recorded and took pictures of my whole journey. Coming back to Uni and going through the DIGC330 course, I realised that everything I recorded, everything I did and experienced in Japan and Korea could be used as an advantage for this individual research project. So, as Chris said, I’m basically cheating- but in a good way!

For my individual project, I’ve decided to draw upon my experience in…

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If it is legal does that make it ethically OK too?

The Idea of taking a photo of someone secretly in public whom I don’t know is daunting. Not due to the fact that I don’t know this person but the fact that I’m secretly taking a photo of them without them knowing and if I positioned myself in their shoes, I wouldn’t be so pleased with it either. However, it comes down to what they are doing with that image and where it’ll be. Australia has no actual laws surrounding people taking photos in a public place but the question in street photography is ideally the ethics. Is it ethically right to take a photo of someone without them knowing? Should we have to get their permission to take a photo in a public place?

I believe it comes down to what the image is being used for, especially when the image is of a specific person. In this case, I’m taking photos of people on their phones in public to showcase the principle of public and private media practices. It’s a generalised concept I’m aiming to express, whereas others may use photos in degrading formats that makes the ethical ideas and questions be argued. The Arts Law Centre of Australia states that there aren’t publicity and privacy rights that protects a person’s image in public places however, ‘a person’s image can constitute ‘personal information’ under the Privacy Act 1988 with the consequence that there are circumstances in which businesses and agencies subject to that Act may breach the law by publishing a person’s image’ (Arts Law Centre of Australia, 2016). Basically it concerns how the image is being used and in what context it is being taken in the first place.

Colberg addresses the ethics of street photography and the issues towards permission in taking a photo. Although it may be legal to take a photo of someone in a public space, it doesn’t mean it’s ethical as well (Colberg, 2013). He expresses the idea that street photographers need to tell publics what they’re doing in a valuable and artistic sense and its overall purpose. Overall, if people don’t want to be photographed, ethically, this should be respected. With this in mind, I went around the University grounds to take photos of people on their phones. The approach I took when taking images was that if I was purposely taking a specific image of one individual; I approached them after and told them what I was using this image for and if it was alright to be published on my blog. I showed them the photo just to make sure it was appropriate and okay. Whereas if the photo was a particular group shot or had a large number of people in it, I didn’t bother asking as it would be impractical. However if someone had approached me, seeing me take photos and voiced their concern over it, there wishes would be respected and I would have deleted it.

The subject of my photos were mostly on their mobile devices and from what I can see was either texting, on social media or the occasional Pokemon Go. I only know this due to being able to tell by their movement of their finger movements touching the screen such as the swift tapping of the keyboard for texting or the scrolling movement on social media. Otherwise it was from what I saw on their screens as they were in front of me. These common media practices are evident in public and private settings and I guess was nothing out of the ordinary; but things rather expected from University students. There was nothing surprising, thus the concern over what peoples images were being used for was absent. It can be argued if this is OK or not in various public situations, such as walking around- that may cause interference as they aren’t paying actual attention but I believe it depends on the setting (if there are many people around that you may be interfering with). There was an instance where I was walking through a shopping centre and was on my phone quickly to turn it on silent before heading to work. I was walking behind a slower crowd so there wasn’t any danger or idea that I was interfering with anyone’s way but someone walked past and whispered in my ear ‘GET OFF YOUR PHONE’. Times like this, I believe I was in an OK situation but others might not. Pew Research Center conducted a research in which outlined that people aged 18-29 are more likely to approve of cell phone use in many public situations.

Overall, the purpose of the images is the main concern that people may have when allowing pictures of them being taken. Although it isn’t legally an issue for people to take a photo of others in public, it’s rather an ethical problem that needs to be carefully addressed while respecting others concerns and wishes.


Arts Law Centre of Australia, 2016, ‘Information Sheet- STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS RIGHTS 2016’

Colberg, J. 2013, ‘The Ethics of Street Photography’ in Conscientious Extended.

Rainie, L. Zickuhr, K. 2015, ‘Chapter 3- When it is acceptable- or not- to use cellphones in public spaces’ in PewResearchCenter.

Reconnecting with State of Play

Digital Asia

Re-examining ‘State of Play’ and looking through others blogs, I realised that a lot of people were unaware of e-sports and were surprised about many of the culture’s aspects, including myself. Before this encounter, I understood the addictive aspect of online gaming but never considered it as an actual competitive sport that was recognised with its own leagues. Watching the documentary opened up curiosities to e-sports and the obsessive, competitive nature. Describing my autoethnographic experience watching State of Play, I was able to link certain Korean cultural aspects that I was aware of and understood due to my own experiences and knowledge about the culture such as training groups, dormitories and the fan culture.

South Korea is the leading country in E-sports and as identified here– there is a simple reason for it. I guess you can agree that the strict training systems in Korea that may be surprising…

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Hagerstrand and SUICIDE SQUAD

Hagerstrand identifies three categories of constraints, limiting an individual to perform any actions they want, thus influencing actions of people.

  1. Capability: referring to the limitations on human movement due to natural causes. We are only capable to do what we can, managing space and time; thus those with cars and faster public services have a ‘spatial- temporal advantage’ over those who don’t. (Corbett, 2001).
  2. Coupling: refers to the need ‘to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people’ (Corbet, 2001). Our schedules and path must link and plan with another’s in order to participate in a task.
  3. Authority: referring to the laws and rules that are set in place; restricting one from their actions.

These limitations by Hagerstrand is a key importance in every-day life and can be related to my own recent cinema experience. A few weeks ago, I went to watch the very anticipated, ‘Suicide Squad’ with my boyfriend. Obviously, there is a lot of hype around the film with an amazing cast and unique storyline so expectations were high. I, probably like everyone else like visiting cinemas when they are empty, due to it feeling less crowded and more personal- like as if you’re watching the movie in a huge wide screen TV and sound system alone rather than a complete random sitting next to you; and of course due to the popularity of Suicide Squad, that was something I unfortunately expected. The storyline and hype of the movie was definitely the reason why we wanted to watch it, even though the reviews were quite negative. The capability constraints of transportation wasn’t an issue as we both have cars that enable us to both easily meet up however, due to the fact that I’m from Wollongong and my boyfriend is from Sydney, driving up to Liverpool to watch a movie even though there was a cinema 5 minutes away from home was a harder but not impossible constraint. This effected the cost of movie tickets as in Wollongong, tickets are much cheaper- generally $9- $14. But in Sydney it was around $20.00. Although this wasn’t restricting our experience, it definitely impacts my decision to choose to watch movies in Sydney cinemas rather than Wollongong, especially when the quality is almost the same.

A coupling constraint was encountered when planning to meet up. The distance between us impacts the time it takes to meet, thus when making plans we have to consider extra driving time. On top of that, juggling work, University and our social lives can be a struggle too- thus the coupling constraint in finding time for each other out of our busy schedules to hopefully finding a linking time that we are both free can be a limitation. Due to the movie being so fully booked, we had to pre-book our tickets online earlier that week to ensure a good seat and hopefully not have to sit around a bunch of strangers. The coupling constraint also rose when picking an appropriate time to watch the film; either 6.30- and have a late dinner or 9pm, and have an early dinner. Due to the fact that I have to drive an hour back home to Wollongong, we decided to choose the earlier option so I wouldn’t get home so late (a capability constraint).

Authority constraints associated with going to the movies includes informal rules such as keeping quiet throughout the film, turning off electronics and not disturbing others. I know I always try to be extra quiet when eating and opening a packet of chips to hopefully not impact on others movie experience. Other authority constraints may include movie ratings- Suicide Squad being rated ‘M’, I was surprised to see the amount of kids (8-10 years old) with and without parent supervision. I guess due to it being a popular, booked out film; our tickets were checked before entering.

I guess we can argue that Hagerstrand’s constraints are apparent for movie- goers and may impact the decline rate of cinema attendance. Although cinemas may have better screenings and give you a well- rounded, high quality, surround sound experience; being at home and avoiding all the extra cost, time and energy spent going to the movie isn’t much worse.



Corbett, J. 2001, Torsten Hagerstrand, Time Geography, CSISS Classics. pp. 1-4

Shaw, S.L, 2010, Hagerstrand & Time Geography, University of Tennessee Presentation, pp.10

Warner Bros Pictures, 2016, SUICIDE SQUAD- OFFICIAL TRAILER 1

More than a simple observation


The collaborative ethnography method of conducting media audience research allows engagement with others while reflecting in the context of their real experiences. The relationship between the ethnographer and consultant forms a sort of negotiation that gives back, allowing that certain aspect being researched to be further explored. Conducting my own collaborative ethnographic research by interviewing my father and reading others interviews proved to have both strengths and weaknesses to this method. It allows us to find common similarities between the television culture back then and now and compares the differences. As identified in my previous blog, I found reasoning to how my parents viewed television now- by watching it while eating dinner. This was due to the fact that TV was only available at public places- mostly restaurants where they could sit down themselves and enjoy with friends. It was considered a luxury and wasn’t affordable. Due to this familiar practice, placement of my family TV now is mainly in the dining room which is where my parents only watch their television. Additional TV’s in the family living room is a totally separate practice and is given to us, ‘the kids’ as an extra to use and watch as we please when we aren’t having dinner. Therefore, my parents don’t mind having TV in the background during dinner and don’t see any problem with this unlike other families in which I noticed with other MAP students that discussed having their TV being turned off during family dinner.

A strength of collaborative ethnography would definitely be the ability to have qualitative, detailed accounts of the interlocutors’ experiences that enables interviewers to further question and elaborate answers. This could however also be a weakness in which their accounts may be altered or bias due to their own distorted memories. Reflecting on my own interview I noticed Dad had trouble recollecting some memories of what he mostly watched and only remembered the fond memories. There were few instances where he said ‘I don’t remember but it was kind of like this’. This can question the validity and reliability of the research.

Reading through other students reflections on their interviews; I noticed a common theme that is a sense of family that was gained from watching television. Even now, this quality family time can still be evident however is questioned due to our short attention spans now that impact our tendency to be distracted and get interrupted by other devices. For example, I watched television for the first time in a while and during the ads or the ‘boring parts’ I naturally grabbed my phone and started browsing social media. It’s just a natural urge to keep ourselves busy and intrigued by something else. Another common theme throughout the MAP blogs was obviously the state of the huge box like TV’s. They were considered a luxury- which was something my dad had established; and only available to those that could afford it. It was definitely interesting reading others blogs in reading something different to what I had reflected on. Overall it was heavily established that most television memories incorporated the strong family interaction that came with it and those fond memories were what was commonly remembered and cherished.

By conducting ethnography, television practices overtime were analysed and a link between family dynamics and technological advancements was established; allowing us to identify changing society and media audiences.



Lassiter, L. 2005. The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Whitehead, T. 2005. Basic Classical Ethnographic Research Methods. ETHNOGRAPHICALLY INFORMED COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL ASSESSMENT RESEARCH SYSTEMS. Maryland, USA: University of Maryland.

Xin Chao Television!

Street dining culture in Vietnam

Interviewing both my parents, who were originally from Vietnam; they hadn’t had much TV available as children due to the poor living conditions and were forced to work labour instead. TV wasn’t available for Dad until he was much older, in his early 30’s in which he spent wondering around the streets of Saigon. That’s where he witnessed most media, compared to watching TV at home. TV and radio were played at local restaurants on the side streets of Ho Chi Minh City where people passing by could glance at or watch if they dined in. It would play in the background while they ate or drank coffee and that’s where Dad experienced most TV viewership. In Vietnam there weren’t lots of TV channels. It wasn’t introduced till late 1960’s and from then only two TV channels were available. Vietnam and the United States had set the channels up during the Vietnam War with one in Vietnamese and the other in English. ‘VTV’ was the main broadcasting station and from what Dad watched, it was mostly Vietnamese soap operas, dramas and stand- up comedy plays. Television Dramas would later include music, dancing and musicals. It was all black and white and all very low quality. TVs were big as microwave ovens, like cubed boxes.

Television in Vietnam now, has also grown to have several channels including international channels and television shows in both English as well as Vietnamese dubbed.

I like to come home from work and sit down, watch TV while eating a hearty bowl of Pho to end my day.

Viewership was very limited for both my parents and TV and the use of media was specialised and seen as a very big privilege, even if they just came across it on the street. Later on, TV channels started to bring in international TV shows and incorporated it into Vietnamese versions. News coverage was available on TV, however most people preferred Newspaper for easy access and due to it being heavily relied on as print media to keep public informed rather than TV.

Moving to Australia, there was a bigger opportunity to watch television but the language barrier largely impacted. However, it was used mainly to waste time after work and help pick up and get used to English. He watched Australian reality television and soap operas but mainly kept the TV on for news updates in the background during family dinner. Even now, TV for mum and dad is kept on in the background whilst cooking and eating dinner in the dining room.

I can see a link between how they were used to watching TV in Vietnam while eating and having it in the background and how they’ve set up the TV in the dining room now. Even now, they don’t watch TV in the living room; but it is set up for ‘the kids’ but even so, we tend to watch television while dining compared to the living room; so you can say that their TV habits and practices have definitely rubbed on us.