Before starting my communications degree, I loved writing creatively. I did English Extension 2 in high school and all across my laptop, you’ll find random documents that have 300 words of writing in them, just from when I had a thought and wanted to write down some ideas.

For my first year subjects, all I was doing was just writing exactly about the lecture content. It wasn’t until my first marks for my blog came back and I fully realised that I need to be writing critically. Sure, the first paragraph can focus on the lecture content, but I need references and other stories and just something else to really make my blog fit for posting.

However, one thing I have always struggled with is writing academically, and sourcing new materials to back-up my opinions or research. A lot of the time it is because I don’t leave myself enough time to do quality research and sometimes it is because I feel I don’t need it. I’ve realised, especially since the start of my blogging, that even having one or two academic sources to discuss can make a world of difference – even if, just right now, its the difference between a credit and a distinction.

In addition, I decided (at least try anyway) to make my blogs not so dense and purely academic. Personally, I can’t read something and be able to properly take in if it is just references after references, big words after big words (BIG WORDS. HUUUUGGGEEE. ENORMOUS).
Engagement for me is so vitally important. You can have all the references in the world, have an amazing piece of academic writing and no one wants to read it because, ultimately, it is boring. At the same time, you can’t just dribble on with Simpsons references and photos of chicken schnitzels at different angles because that isn’t productive public writing either (although that is definitely a blog post I would check out…)

All-time stats for Churches and Hills! 822 views! (Mostly from me, on 820 other computers)

822 views for all time stats is pretty good – it shows that my engagement techniques with readers is working, but it also shows that I need to get better at promoting my blog on Twitter and other platforms and ultimately increase the reach of my posts. By tagging more effectively and posting more regularly, I believe that this can be achieved.

Because this is a reflection of my writing, I went looking for other sources that discuss public writing and how important it is to do it correctly – not just for your reader’s benefit, but for yourself too.

Jenson (2011) discusses the importance of self-reflection and outlines key principles for students, which is similar to the guidelines we were given in first year:

  1. Students own their portfolios, the information it contains and have responsibility for managing that information

  2. Students learn to manage that data responsibly by selecting which singular pieces of information

  3. Students are encouraged to create a lifelong record of their learning through the University granting its graduates lifelong access to their portfolios.

  4. Students are urged to consistently reflect ontheir learning, not only while at the university but beyond.

My blogging has involved understanding and implementing all four of these points. Keeping a lifelong record of our learning has been one of the key aims of our blogging, but I always have trouble reflecting back on it – it is one thing that I hope to be on top of by the end of this subject, or at the very most, by the time I graduate.

In addition, Hicken (2015) discusses how blogging can be daunting, regardless if its the first time you’ve blogged or the hundredth. She outlined some of the worst things to do on a blog:

  • Don’t make your readers work too hard
  • Don’t be boring
  • Don’t become dependent on other’s expertise
  • Don’t forget visuals

These points have assisted me in being able to blog effectively. It is all about balance after all – making sure that there are enough references but also enough engaging material, like visuals, to keep a reader reading and to make sure they keep coming back. I’ve realised that I need to increase the amount of visual content in my blogs to make them more interesting and readable.


Subjects like BCM241 (Media, Audience, Place) and BCM212 (Research Practices in Media and Communication) have taught me how to research effectively, and how to ethically do so too. It has informed my blogging and even research in other subjects, and has put a conscious thought in my mind to make sure that everything that I post and every project that I’ve attempted (or will attempt) is done with my readers and participants in the fore-front of my mind.

In the future, I really need to dedicate more time and energy to blogging – especially if it is a major part of my degree. I need to tackle it with as much passion as I do my personal blogging space, and push for a more regular pattern of blogging.

Say blogging again.




Hicken, A 2015 ‘Every don’t has a do when writing a blog post’, PR Newswire, viewed 2 October 2017,

Jenson, J.D 2011 ‘Promoting Self-regulation and Critical Reflection Through Writing Students Use of Electronic Portfolio’, International Journal of ePortfolio, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 49-60.



Grand Theft Regulation

I’ve always loved a bit of gaming. I’m definitely not a hardcore gamer, and I am definitely not one of those “GAMER GURL XOXO LOL IM SO GOOD” girls either, but I reckon I’m somewhere in between.

My dad was always pretty into gaming, and he is the one who introduced me to Grand Theft Auto. Mum hated the game, and whenever I would go back to Mum’s and talk about it, she would go on about how ‘inappropriate’ and ‘violent’ and ‘degrading towards women’ it was and that I really shouldn’t be playing it in the first place.
I mean, I was about 10 at the time so, realistically, she did have a pretty good point.

I was unbelievably keen when GTA V (Grand Theft Auto 5) was announced and I was actually at an appropriate (and legal) age to start playing it. After a lot of marketing campaigns, and just the general hype around any GTA game, it broke industry sales records, becoming the fastest-selling entertainment product in HISTORY, and it made US $1 damn billion in the first 3 days.

And of course, with every Grand Theft Auto release, there is always controversy.

When the game was released in 2013, it faced multiple criticisms for the depictions of violence, sexual assault and torture. In Australia, this was taken even further – Target and Kmart pulled the game from its Australian stores after 3 women started a petition to ban the game entirely due to its content.

Jim Cooper, manager of corporate affairs at Target Australia, stated at the time that “there was a significant level of concern about the game’s content” and that they felt that the decision “to stop selling GTA 5 is in line with the majority view of our customers”.

Between March and June 2015, 220 games were refused classification and therefore were unable to be sold or advertised in Australia. According to Sveen 2015, this coincided with the Federal Government ‘adopting a new model for classifying games’ which aims to regulate games that are released online but are not deemed acceptable to have access in Australia.

It begs the question: do regulations like this work? And with the era of the Internet, where everything is accessible, does it really stop people from being able to access it?

In short, no. But according to Brett Lamb at, there are five main reasons why media regulations exist:

  1. Copycat behaviour – if a viewer sees distressing content, are they likely to engage in doing it to?
  2. Protecting children – stopping material that may upset or disturb young people
  3. Protecting adults – stopping ‘likely to offend’ material from being distributed and causing harm
  4. Protecting cultural identity – keeping Australian content accessible and available to all to preserve our culture
  5. Media ownership – keeping foreign investment to a minimum, and stopping one person or organisation from owning the majority of accessible media

What do you think? Does GTA fall under any if these categories? And if so, should that mean that distribution is ceased?


References: 2014, “‘Sexually violent’ GTA 5 banned from Australian stores”, BBC Technology, viewed 1 October 2017,

Lamb, B n.d, ‘Media influence: how and why we regulate the media’,, viewed 1 October 2017,

Sveen 2015, ‘Australia bans 220 video games in 4 months as government adopts new classification model’, ABC News, viewed 1 October 2017,



Multi-tasking (but not really)

I am seriously the absolute worst when it comes to multi-tasking.

Women are meant to be fantabulous at it or whatever, but I can only EVER multitask when I’m driving out of the drive-thru and checking that McDonald’s hasn’t stuffed up my order before I leave.

I decided that I was gonna test myself, because 1.whythehellnot and 2. I was running out of time to submit this blog post.

One night, completely bored and I had finished How I Met Your Mother for seriously the millionth time, I figured that I should show BCM241 a bit of love and set up a small informal test that sees what happens to my attention in the presence of multiple media devices. I set that phone volume up high, had Spotify on my laptop and One Tree Hill on the television, and I just waited. I tried to think about things I loved, like small labrador puppies and Cadbury chocolate.

Unfortunately, my brain could not focus on anything else BUT my phone. My mind kept going back to checking Facebook, or Instagram, or snaps – it was kind of interesting that neither music or one of my favourite shows really spiked my interest. My focus was solely on my phone, that tiny little thing sitting on the bed next to me.

According to a study conducted by Google in 2012, this is actually not that uncommon – they found that “TV no longer commands our full attention… it is one of the most common devices that is used simultaneously with other screens.” It went into stating that social media has eclipsed tv and its ‘power’ over us. Other studies have also concluded that television is a way of drowning out silence or just having the comfort of something on in the background.

Harris (2016) also brought up something interesting (that 100% applies to me and I’m sure, so many others) is that people have a fear of missing something important. 

“If I convince you that I’m a channel for important information, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities — it will be hard for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or remove your account — because (aha, I win) you might miss something important…”

I have a huge thing about missing something important that happens online – a lot of the time this stops me from unfriending people on Facebook that I haven’t spoken to in a while. But whenever I do, they instantly leave my mind (which is how I know I made the right choice).

All in all, I was quite surprised by the results of the test – although I am on my phone a lot I was intrigued that it became extremely difficult for me not to check it even though I had a lot of other ‘distractions’ available.



Harris, T 2016, ‘How technology hijacks people’s minds – from a magician and google design ethicist’, Thrive Global, viewed 19 September 2017,

Google 2012, ‘The New multi-screen world: understanding cross-platform consumer behaviour’, Google, viewed 19 September 2017,

Private (but Public)(but Private) Spaces

My mum is obsessed with printing off photos and putting them into albums. She always says how important it is to have a physical copy of photos, especially ones that are of big life moments like the birth of a child, a wedding, a holiday.

One thing that always intrigues me is the people in the background – the random strangers that we have collected into albums over the years. Some of the faces they are pulling mid-shot is pretty funny, but it is also interesting to wonder where are they now? Did we capture a special moment inside our own?

One thing that I had never really considered before listening to Week 6’s lecture is – did we get their permission? It seems kinda silly, especially at a place like Disneyland California (where there are people EVERYWHERE) but ethically, it can be a bit of a grey cloud. Especially if you post those photos on the internet.

According to Australian law:

It is generally possible to take photographs in a public place without asking permission… [which] extends to taking photographs of buildings, sites and people (Arts Law n.d)

In addition, there is not necessarily a law against taking a person’s photo, however, “a person’s image can constitute as personal information… businesses and agencies subject to [Privacy Act 1988 Cth] may breach the law by publishing a person’s image – such as if it depicts them in a negative light or is used in an advertising campaign without their knowledge.

Ah yes, “Mid-Session Break”.

The photo I took was in the UOW Library, showing a late Friday night where people were engaging in all sorts of media. Some were actually doing work (WOW omg really?!?) and others were surfing between doing both uni work and other social media platforms, such as Facebook or on their phones  (possibly Tindering, I mean it is a Friday night after all).

Although I did not ask permission for this photo to be taken (which is legal under Australian law), I made sure no faces were in the shot and I was prepared to explain what I was doing if anyone asked, and I was also prepared to delete the shot if requested.

One woman in the U.S was fined and had to complete community service for taking an unflattering photograph of a woman in a gym getting changed, and then uploaded it to her public Snapchat account. Although not in an Australian context, it highlights the important of not only permission, but being respectful in taking photos of people – and also a little bit of common sense.

It is so important that whenever you take photos of someone in public, it is done respectfully, with permission, or at the very least there is nothing in the photo to be able to distinguish who that person is.

More information about taking ‘street’ photographs is at Arts Law.



Arts Law n.d, Street photographer’s rights, Arts Law Centre of Australia, viewed 29 September 2017,





My Cinema Experience (from two weeks ago)

When I was younger, going to the cinema was always pretty exciting. It was one of the first places Mum let me go alone with friends, and as a 12/13-year-old, that was like the best thing ever.
I found that once I actually had to start paying for my own cinema experiences, I realised how expensive it was and I tried to stop going as much – but as I’m from a country town, it was one of the only things to actually do.

My boyfriend T and I go the cinemas rarely – only if there is something we really want to see and a good version isn’t on any (questionably legal) streaming sites. Start of this month we went to see War of the Planet of the Apes.

According to Hagerstrand’s three constraints, capability, coupling and availability, this is my cinema experience.

CAPABILITY (CAN I GET THERE?): As my boyfriend and I are fully licensed drivers with our own cars, it is relatively easy to from Point A to B, regardless of where it is. We usually go to Hoyts Warrawong – it is about 10-15 minutes away BUT it is generally cheaper and has seriously the comfiest chairs in the world. You can literally lay down while watching the movie, and you can’t put a price on that kind of luxury.

COUPLING (CAN I GET THERE AT THE RIGHT TIME?): Whenever we go together or go with others, we carpool. Not only does it make it easier but you get to hang with friends for a while before the movie, and have a quick catch-up. The only problem is that sometimes we have run a bit late because we have underestimated the time it takes to get to Warrawong, or we are hanging around for a while because we have over-estimated. But the tickets are cheaper and better seats, so it kind of makes up for it.

AUTHORITY (AM I ALLOWED TO BE THERE?): T and I are both UOW students, so we use our concession cards wherever we can to get some cheeky discounts. I ordered the tickets online the morning before because it had come out that day and we knew it would be popular – so I grabbed student tickets. When we got there, we were never asked to prove that we were students, so I guess we cheated the system and you could call us rebels.

Cinemas are always a pretty cool experience unless you have to pee halfway through (and of course you miss the most important bit) or you have those annoying 12-year-olds hanging out up the back talking. Cinema companies are now trying to make their cinemas better and more comfortable, or have something entirely new to bring more people in.
Unfortunately, it really is the expense of going that puts people off, myself included. It is definitely not a cheap experience, especially if you decide you want some candy bar food (I mean seriously, I am not paying $8.50 for a packet of M&Ms). And with the rise of actually ok quality streaming sites, a lot of the time you don’t see the practicality in going when you could save the money and the energy.

What do you guys think? Do you go to the cinema much anymore?



Image credit: Vehemence for Cinema

Don’t worry about my blog, it’s a bit of a pitch

With all my BCMS subjects, it is usually required to come up with your own artefact, or research project, and every time I’m totally stumped.

And I still kinda am.

I feel like that is one of the quietly beautiful things about research, as that most people do have a bit of an idea or direction until they stumble onto something extraordinary.


I love listening to music – it is one of my favourite things to do. It makes time go faster, you get to have a little jig in your kitchen while you cook, it allows people to make absolute drunken fools of themselves in clubs and it makes some of the most intimate moments in our lives become infinitely more intimate.

When I got my first iPod Nano around 2009/10, I was obsessed. I had that thing in my ears (not the iPod itself, obviously) everywhere – the bus to and from school, in class, when I was talking to friends at recess and lunch, family dinners, doing work, going to sleep. One of the main criticisms I got, especially from Mum, that it was just plain rude.


My first love


And, looking back, it kind of was. I took listening to the music to the extreme and I guess I blame it on my ‘rebellious’ stage of Year 8 and 9. I didn’t want to engage in conversations, and wearing headphones was my way of getting out of it. At the same time, I enjoyed listening to it – they wouldn’t be in my ears if I didn’t – and it was a way of filling up awkward silences or background noises.

Even at uni, I feel lost without having my headphones in my ear walking to and from class. Although the level of my using them has significantly reduced, and I don’t listen in class or when I’m having conversations, it is almost a comfort thing for me. Not having to talk, make conversation with people I don’t want to, having the capacity to ignore others with somewhat of an excuse, and of course pretending I don’t hear people trying to sell me things or give me pamphlets at uni. 

And lets not forget, when you are walking to class and and ABSOLUTE JAM comes on and you feel like you could conquer anything in the world, and you imagine that if that moment was being filmed for a movie, it really would be the most epic of scenes.

For my project and ultimately my digital storytelling assessment, I want to explore people’s use of headphones today compared to a decade ago, and the reasons why they use them. I want to explore the concept of silent discos – literally going to a club and having headphones in your ear while with friends – and see what people think of them.

I also want to follow the pattern of the other concepts this session and ask older generations these same questions – what Mum thought of me at the time, what she thinks of them now, if she has ever used them; ask my Grandmother if she has ever been exposed to them. I want to know what people think when they see headphones in other people compared to when they use them, and whether it differs between generations.

I also want to see if the research into damaged eardrums due to headphone usage has either been under-estimated or has no real basis in an argument about ceasing or reducing usage. A 2002 study by Mazlan et al. suggested that there was no association between headphone use and duration of listening; yet in 2015, the World Health Organisation stated that 1.1 billion people were at risk for early-onset hearing problems because of unsafe headphone use.

At the moment, I’m pretty interested to see where I will end up with this idea (if I decide to stick with it) and if I will gain any information that is different, or that changes my own way of looking at headphones or the way I use them.

As always, I’d love to know your opinion so leave a comment below!



Mazlan, R, Saim, L, Thomas, A, Said, R, Liyab, B 2002, ‘Ear infection and hearing loss amongst headphone users’, Malaysia Journal of Medical Science, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 17-22.

WHO 2015, ‘1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss’, World Health Organisation, viewed 19 August 2017,


Photobucket (I did the tacky heart) (And in paint so take that Adobe Photoshop!)

All right, Stop! Collaborate and listen!

Disclaimer: The blog name idea was mine and I apologise for its horribly awfulness. If it is now in your head, I have the link to the song here for your convenience. 

In preparation for our own little ethnographic project, it is kind of important that we actually know what it means, and the potential for such a project (and the problems that could arise from it too). Luke Eric Lassiter (NOT the Lassiter that like all the good Pixar films which devastated me more than it should have), writer of The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, states that:

“In the communities in which we work, study, or practice, we cannot possibly carry out our unique craft without engaging others in the context of their real, everyday lives.” (Lassiter, 2005)

It basically means that you can’t have truly ethnographic research without engaging with people about their lives, and it can’t be collaborative without you working with them to produce research that they are happy with and, in the end, approve of.

Even last week when I was talking with my mother about her television use when she was a child compared to now, I could tell that she liked being able to talk about it. It brings up good and beloved memories for her… maybe not so much about television, but the memories she had with her mother and father growing up. Since her father has passed away, it is always a little bit beautiful to hear her speak about him in ways I’ve rarely heard – in a context other than his sickness.

You can fairly easily get the ethnographic part, just watching people do their thing – but the collaborative part is about working and talking with the person and, ultimately, being able to extract the things you wouldn’t usually get.

Of course, like any research practice, it has its pros and cons. As I stated earlier, getting participants to work towards research they approve of and are happy with is always ideal, they get to be their own researchers, and they feel good because someone is taking interest in their lives and what they do – even things that may seem a bit mundane. It is always nice when people take interest in what you do and what you have been up to.

However, it can create an ethical dilemma of sorts – those participants may not like how they are portrayed in the research, and may attempt to change certain aspects to fit in with them. And like any group project, opinions can differ and problems can arise with the direction of the research being conducted. Lassiter touches on this at the end of the excerpt:

“A coauthored effort, theirs was undoubtedly a “team ethnography,” but [the participants’] role was considerably blurred: she was both an informant and, having interviewed her coworkers, a participant observer.”

I’ve realised that it is important to keep an eye out for problems in my own research, especially once I develop my pitch and start conducting some hard-hitting research (like how seriously delicious chicken schnitzel is). Being collaborative is important and good – to a degree. It is all about maintaining a good relationship but also having that line firmly in place. If not, ethical boundaries can be crossed, and the researcher’s happiness with your work can be compromised.




Lassiter, L.E 2005, ‘The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography‘, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1, pp. 15-24.

Me Vs McDonalds/KFC/happiness

As part of my social marketing subject this session, one of our assignments is based on changing a behaviour to reach a positive outcome (like to stop smoking or to start recycling) and documenting how it is over 11-12 weeks.

Initially, I thought that ‘social marketing ‘was about social media and using it to market to different audiences. In the first lecture, between discussions of how damn late it is to have a lecture and I need KFC right now, I realised that it is about challenging consumers existing perceptions they have towards particular behaviours and, ultimately, encouraging positive change for a better outcome for all (I’m sorry if you are the lecturer and you are reading this and you are thinking HAS SHE LEARNED NOTHING?!?! I’m working on it!)

I’ve decided to try and swap out my McDonalds/KFC runs for exercise. I’ve already tweeted some posts but my aim is:

  • to begin swimming in Week 4
  • document every time I think about having McDonalds or KFC for dinner
  • the amount of times I think about it, is the minimum amount of exercise sessions for the following week (eg. If I think about having McDonalds 4 times in Week 5, I will do at least 4 exercise sessions in Week 6).

I’m required to document my progress on Twitter, but I decided that a few occasional blogs wouldn’t be a bad thing either.


(A last meal before a big task like this was very important.)


In all seriousness, I think this task will become quite difficult. I am not very good at sustaining behaviours (well healthy ones anyway) and I suffer from a severe lack of motivation. Here, it is all about making realistic goals and making exercise and (relatively) healthy eating a routine.

So goodbye for now, Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders, for I am trying to forget you – but hopefully, one day, I can have you in my loving arms again (but not as frequently because you are only a sometimes food).


Television: Getting rid of awkward silences since 1927

For me, trying to imagine life without a television in it is mostly impossible. Especially since some of the biggest Aussie events revolve around access to one – and by ‘biggest Aussie events’ I mean the AFL grand final every year. In my house, that thing is bigger than Christmas.

When I was younger, it was just my Mum and I for a while before she met my step-dad. My Mum is a school teacher so she would get up pretty early and put the news on before she went to have a shower, and as soon as she walked out of the room, I had ABC Kids on. Mum was so busy trying to get ready after that that she never went to change the channel back.

It was truly beautiful.

I came home and watched ABC Kids some more, or some classic Go Go Stop because seriously that was one of the best shows ever, and keep watching it until I had to go to bed at like 7.30 (seriously, not cool Mum).

I asked my Mum what she did when she was a kid, and her experiences were… same same but different.

“I wasn’t allowed to watch TV in the mornings, but my mother let me watch Skippy in the afternoons.. We mostly just watched the news, or ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ on Sundays as a family… The TV was never just on, we were either watching it or it was off.”

My Mum also said that her mum always encouraged her to read books instead, and if she was going to watch TV, the programs she was allowed to watch were pretty restricted.

She says now that she likes having it on for background noise, but she thinks my younger sisters watch too much of it – she said that “a lot of the time they will sit in front of the television but be on their iPads, listening to music or watching YouTube instead.”

‘If I wanted to change anything about the patterns of us watching tv, I would cut down on the amount we watch, especially on weekends and not have it on all day. But I’m like my own mother in a way… I feel like I need to watch TV and the news, I hate not knowing what’s going on in the world.”

Television has inevitably become part of everyday life. Although now, the role of television has changed – for myself and friends my age, it is more used as just a screen so you can watch Netflix via Apple TV or plug in your laptop using a HDMI cable. I rarely tune in to watch the 6pm News or even other programs like Survivor or MasterChef (although I did for my Kitchen Rules because seriously what was up with Josh).

Week 2’s topic really got me thinking (like for real thinking)… in 30 years, when my children have similar tasks, will they be asking me about television because it has gone extinct? Or will they ask me about how weird it was using an iPhone because something bigger and better has come along to replace it?

Media and (Planes) and Space

It is kind of insane how physical spaces and media spaces have become so intertwined that they can almost feel like the same thing. FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat – they are all just a few ways to be physically in the moment without actually being physically there.

The amount of media spaces that I could say I am apart is pretty excessive. Unlike my bank account, it often seems these spaces triple in number and size without really doing that much.
And there is one media space that I absolutely love being a part of.

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with commercial airlines and planes.  It was only until recently that I fully realised that you can literally follow flights real time on so many different apps like Plane Finder. A few of my friends went overseas during the break so I was (creepily) asking for their flight numbers so I could watch them fly over the Pacific Ocean. It was kinda awesome that I could literally be God (MWAHAHAHHA) watching over them on my phone but it was also kind of weird too.


These apps facilitate a massive aviation following on Instagram and Snapchat especially, allowing keen plane lovers to monitor their favourite flights (or their own) and watch out for ones that they want to see in real life – with pilots all over the world joining in, discussing the planes they fly and sharing their future flight numbers that followers can watch out for.
These media spaces then combine into real ones – meet ups with other avid plane-ers and driving to specified plane watching spots at airports globally, like the ones at Sydney Airport.

I love to experience a hobby of mine with other people and watch what they do, the pictures they take and where they go to get the best views; I love expanding my knowledge of aviation jargon and just interacting with other like-minded people. Media spaces can have a lot of criticisms, like the dangers of interacting with people you don’t know or losing yourself so much in the digital world that you forget you are actually standing in a physical one.
But I believe they are. so. important. Being able to interact with so many people at one time about something you are passionate about or bond over doing the same thing or being at the same place is truly unique to us. And for some, who feel like the physical space they are in just isn’t enough, their very own media space may just be where they need to be.