Note: names of participants have been changed for confidentiality
When considering my method and approach towards researching relationships, it’s evident from the onset that this can be considered a private subject. It’s definitely not something I can research through public observation, as considering the nature of online digital communication, it would require completely immoral and criminal hacking of text messages or Facebook accounts. And even so, relationships are such a constant, lengthy and complex human experience that basic observation won’t be enough to extract useful findings. Because of this, my best approach to researching this topic is through interviews, in order to discuss memories and emotional responses to people experiences of developing a relationship online.
I remember the day I told my mum that me and my boyfriend were officially dating she laughed. She asked me “Why does he have to ask you to be his girlfriend for it to be official? You’ve been seeing each other for months.” I also remember her refusing to accept it was our one-year anniversary because she believes it was months ago. This got me thinking about how much dating and relationships have changed over the generations. Mum and Dad never had a moment where they asked each other to be boyfriend/ girlfriend, and they originally met in person.
Photography is so important to ethnography, a photograph is simply the most instant, effective way to present a visual idea or observation, especially with the ease of the camera quality in our mobile phones. It gives the researcher something to look back on when presenting findings which is clear and concise to their point.
After working in a specific workplace for a while, you begin to adjust to the patterns within the workplace, what happens and at what time, when to complete tasks and when to anticipate busy periods. Being aware of these patterns not only helps you complete tasks more efficiently, but it creates a united culture within employees, as you all become aware of the same patterns and you are able to work together to further improve the resulting efficiency. Along with learning patterns within the function of the workplace, you also become familiar with the common stakeholders within your job, most commonly, your colleagues and your customers.
Through a shameless blog stalk, I’ve noticed how students within BCM241 are becoming a lot more aware of the patterns between people and their media usage, they are becoming critical of what they see, paying attention to detail and asking questions: “Why are things the way they are?” After asking this, a motive is constructed, and a desire to find out more is formed. They begin figuring out ways to find the answer by asking: “How can I research this?”
The release of the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go created a huge phase of obsession as it broke records, with more people playing it than people using twitter. (Geist) But as quickly as the game boomed in popularity, it soon died out as a trend, leaving only truly enthused players left to continue. The duration of my gameplay was somewhere in the middle of these two groups, I certainly kept playing for a long time after the initial hype died out, as people would often say to me, “Oh, do you still play that? I didn’t think anyone played it anymore. I totally forgot it existed.” I probably played for a bit over a year all together, until my phone’s GPS stopped working properly, making it impossible for me to play as this feature was vital to the function of the game. Deep down I was kind of relived, it gave me no choice but to stop playing a game that would drain my battery, force me to never look up from my phone, and prevent me from using other important features on my phone.
Making it to the movies on time on Thursday night depended on three limitations. Torsten Hägerstrand explores these “constraints” and how important they are to human activity, especially social activity. Capability was my main challenge, which “refer(s) to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors” (Corbett 2001). Was I able to leave university at 4:30, pick up my boyfriend and drive to Miranda in time for a 6:40 screening? Only just. Luckily my coupling limitation was a lot simpler, Luke only works during the day, so he is always available to go out during the evening. And finally, “an authority constraint is an area controlled by certain people that set limits on access.”(Corbett 2001). We purchased tickets, even though no one ever checks our tickets since the cinema was renovated and moved a few years ago. And funnily enough, I had a split-second moment where I was unsure if I was allowed in an MA movie, even though I’ve been of-age for four years now.
Have you ever had a moment of panic or slight unease when you are separated from your phone? Hermann Bausinger explained that some technology can be “distinguished by the fact that they rapidly take on the character of artificial limbs” (Bausinger 1984) And when considering a mobile phone as a part of your everyday, or even every minute it’s safe to consider it one kind of “artificial limb”. Sherry Turkle draws on this too, observing that her daughter “sleeps with her cellphone, so do I.” (Turkle 2012) Bausinger used the newspaper as an example of this attachment we have to technology, describing peoples’ worry if a newspaper wasn’t delivered that day, the dilemma is “a question of the missing content of the newspaper, or isn’t it rather that one misses the newspaper itself? Because the newspaper is part of it, reading it proves that the breakfast-time world is still in order-hence the newspaper is a mark of confirmation” (Bausinger 1984) When considering this, media such as newspaper or our mobile phones may not always be desired for its content, but for its comfort as it contributes to our everyday, our rituals. This is further proven when you realise that sometimes you go on your phone even if you haven’t been contacted or don’t desire to make contact yourself.