Having begun undertaking our research projects, I have come across many concerns and obstacles. The biggest challenge I have faced so far is gathering enough data. It’s quite stressful and worrying knowing that all your research relies on a reasonable amount of people willingly participating in your data methods. So far, I have submitted my survey online, as my tutorial was cancelled and it could therefore not be distributed there. This was a massive setback as I was relying on the 20 odd responses within my class to contribute to my sample sufficiently. Instead, now I am relying on online contributions. Another issue relating to this, is that the quality of the responses is very mixed. It is hard to get in depth answers that contain a lot of information through a survey. Also the open ended question I have included has barely harvested any responses, which is frustrating as I was hoping it would provide me a vast amount of understanding and information. I understand that the nature of how these surveys are conducted also contributes to this. As quite a few classes are distributing surveys, many respondents may be frustrated with the large amount of surveys they have been asked to participate in, and are being very limited in what they are answering to avoid the use of large amounts of time. Hopefully, by focusing on my next method, a focus group, I will be able to get more information out of this. I hope that by requesting participants willing to converse and contribute, as well as having them in a social environment, will mean the information they produce is of large and valuable content. Will keep you all posted as to how it turns out…
There’s no doubt that there is a mental health problem in Australia. Aside from the various institutions we are informed about, the advertisements we constantly consume, and the shocking statistics; the knowledge of the friends/family and people I have heard about with mental illness, is alarming. The Black Dog institute states that 1 in 5 (20%) of Australians aged 16-85 will experience a mental health issue within the next year; the highest risk age group being 18-24 year olds. Furthermore, Universities Australia reported that the number of students enrolled in Australian universities in 2015 was 1,410,133 of which 1,046,835 were domestic students and 363,298 were international students. And according to the 2016 Census results, there were 1,421,595 15-19 year olds, and 1,599,793 20-24 year olds, living in Australia.
So what does this mean?
Over 50% of Australians aged 18-24 attend university. This is the same age bracket that poses the highest statistics for mental health issues. ASMA found that the percentage of university students experiencing very high levels of distress were significantly higher than those of the same age that were in the general population; the percentage difference being the comparison of 9.6% to one of 4.05%. Thus, Australian university students are statistically at a higher risk of suffering a mental health issue.
So what do we already know?
Headspace were able to recognise that there are mental health issues directly affecting students ability to perform their university requirements and work. In their survey, they found that major contributors to the lack of ability to complete university work included: Thoughts of self-harm or suicide: 35.4 per cent, Feeling stressed: 83.2 per cent, Lack of energy or motivation: 82.1 per cent, Feeling anxious: 79.0 per cent, Low mood: 75.8 per cent, Feelings of hopelessness/worthlessness: 59.2 per cent, Trouble sleeping: 55.6 per cent, Panic: 52.7 per cent.
Perhaps the strongest source that supports the research into this issue, is an investigation conducted by Orygen in 2017. They acknowledge minimal research has already been conducted, especially in Australia, but that the research that has been done does support a growing perception that Australian university students are experiencing higher (and continually rising) levels of stress and mental ill-health in comparison to other age brackets. This research identified several risk factors which effected university students’ mental health including academic pressures, financial pressures, relocation to participate in higher education (especially in rural/remote and international students), transitional stress between levels of education, drug and alcohol use, poor diet, and lack of sleep. They were also able to see trends between poor metal health and certain characteristics of individuals. For example 29% of those with physical disabilities reported having an anxiety disorder. As well as this, risk groups were identified; international students, rural/regional university students, law and medicine students, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. They drew a conclusion, as to why this may be the case, including that relocation may contribute to loneliness, and that a major life transition, such as the move from high school into university, would lead to a mental health decline; this was supported by the data of first year students.
Orygen however, did admit they were missing some elements of research in their study. They did not specify disability, delve into what mental illness/psychological distress was experienced within the ‘health and stress’ domain, or if an individual was/had been seeking help.
The statistics do not lie, this is a real issue in Australian society and it is crucial that is be further documented. For this reason, I will be conducting further research, specifically into the resources available to university students that assist in recognising, and treating mental health concerns and issues. We, as a nation, are able to recognise that there is a problem, and have endeavoured to address this, however we must ask, are we doing enough? Is what we are doing effective? Sydney University believe that standard education and marketing on mental health is not a very effective initiative. So what else is there? How else can we help?
For this reason, I have decided to conduct research on mental health services available to university students, and their effectiveness. The same research conducted by The University of Sydney estimates that approximately 75% of adult mental health conditions emerge by age 24; so our ability to diagnose, address, and treat this problem in younger adults, will have immense effects on the population as a whole. Therefore, it is paramount that we find effective ways, that create real change, and to be able to do this we must first assess the current systems in place. This research is an important tool which will be vital in facilitating positive change in the mental health of Australian university students. So watch this space as I investigate;
Are the current mental health services available to university students effective in addressing the issue of mental health?
For support and information about suicide prevention, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011. Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2011. Cat. no. PHE 140 Canberra: AIHW., p 13-15.
Black Dog Institute. n.d.Facts and figures about mental health. .Keeping Health in Mind, p 1-4.
Eisenburg; Golberstein; Gollust, D; E; S, 2007. Help-Seeking and Access to Mental Health Care in a University Student Population. Medical Care-Official Journal of the Medical Care Section, American Public Health Association, July 2007- Volume 45 – Issue 7, p 594-601.
Healthy Sydney University Mental Wellbeing Working Group, n.d. A blueprint for student mental wellbeing in universities. Healthy Sydney University, p 1-2.
Orygen: The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, 2017. Under the radar: the mental health of Australian university students. Orygen: The National centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, p 10-52.
Wang; Lee; Tasha, S; S; Z, 2013. The Australian Context. University Student Mental Health, 1, p 5-13.
Something that sent me on a search for information…
Only about 3 months ago, I was sitting in my box office at Capitol Theatre, making small talk with the colleague beside me. Talking about trips, he alerted me of his upcoming trip – to Central America. Rallying off countries, I can barely keep up, recalling some as countries I’ve seen people I know drop into. And so I sat there questioning, and went home wondering. Why had I seen posts of this place? What countries were part of it? Where even was it? And what was the allure to it?
So I started looking into it. There were photos I saw uploaded; mainly consisting of places I’d literally never even heard of. So, as the curios person I am, I took a mental note to add this area to the many trips I have planned, that one day I would find myself able to explore on their very shores myself.
And keeping it short and sweet, I’ll be there in June! For me, Curiosity is seeing things, being immersed in them, experiencing them. Of course, I could learn by reading about things, but I prefer to draw my own conclusions and paint my own picture. So where did my curiosity and search for information take me… it took me 20 hours around the world to another nation. And not only that, but to Anton Valley in Panama, exactly where Matthias Gruber mentions in his talk “This is your Brain on Curiosity”. Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how square the trees really are!
Transmedia – where integral elements of fiction are dispersed across multiple delivery channels. Wot?
Seriously, even though I full understand the concept, it’s still kinda confusing when reading it that way. So basically put, when parts of a storyline (sort of) are portrayed and therefore consumed via many different mediums. That definitely makes more sense to me, and is really how I understand the whole concept.
Transmedia allows for consumers to develop a deeper connection to the content they are consuming, and by consuming various forms of content, allows for a broader and more widespread understanding.
Take Spiderman for example (totally hypothetical because I have next to no idea about any of it). They release the comics, and then there’s a movie, and a few video and computer games, and a card game based off the video games, and before you know it there’s basically a whole Spiderman world out there. It’s highly successful and not only that, but original fans (in this case of the comics) aren’t the only fans that are now engaged with the content. Some consumers may join in with the video games, or buy the cards, but now they have become part of this world. The movement between the different sources is also completely non-conventional. It’s not linear, one platform onto the next. Users may engage with this content in whichever way they may like, and may go between platforms likewise.
Transmedia is the reality of how we connect with media nowadays. Almost everything we come across is interconnected to another platform where we may access further content. It’s like posting a YouTube link to Facebook, or me posting this blog post link to my Twitter. Anyways, I think you understand the general concept, but just to further that, here’s a link to my SoundCloud, which will link you back to here, which links you to my SoundCloud. It’s like a Transmedia-ception.
An emerging trend in the internet these days is fake and bias news. To be honest, I was absolutely awful with recognising any of it. I’d always click on “clickbait” because, hey, it sounded interesting. And I’d be reading some article about how Beyoncé was actually having an affair and she’s now a lesbian and I’m lapping this all up. Awesome, I think, as I click to the comments section because 1. there’s always good banter, and 2. I love watching people disagree online.
Fast forward to me reading through the comments, finding either two opinions from most commenters; 1. this is absolute baloney and we now hate whoever published it, or 2. we are shocked and pretty much believe the whole thing. I am number 2 (embarrassing). I consider myself pretty switched on, and with some ridiculous headlines that are completely legitimate these days, it’s super hard to determine what is and isn’t true or real.
So that’s the first issue, and if that isn’t hard enough, then there’s the issue of bias news (queue eye roll). In simple terms, because its even super hard for me to grasp let alone recognise, this means when the writer produces an article or story from a particular point of view. So the information you are delivered, is swung a certain way.
See for me, bias news is like absolutely impossible to recognise. Maybe I just assume people are good reporters and have no reason to report otherwise. But really, bias news is so influential nowadays because were taking opinionated and spun news as truthful and real. Low key brainwashing I’d like to say.
Okay maybe my video is an exaggeration, but then again, you’d be surprised. News and how it’s reported is dependent on many factors aside from just a reporter regurgitating what actually happened. Think of any scenario you have witnessed, others will have witnessed it differently and will recall it differently. But that’s not the issue at hand here. The real issue is that some people who support a certain agenda, will write to their agenda knowingly. A prime example is Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp, who was a disbeliever about climate change. So therefore, all the news sources under his reign, were biased reporting on such occurrences. This then fed out to all the consumers of the news i.e. the public, who were mis or even uninformed about the whole issue.
But enough of the facts and boring stuff. Fake news is a prominent and emerging phenomenon, as is bias news. All readers should be aware of this and consume news knowing so. An informed reader will draw their own conclusions and be able to assess news accordingly. So please, be me (recovering uninformed news consumer) and start paying attention!
How memes changed the world in real-time.
This is perhaps one of the most random, yet low-key phenomenal, occurrences that has recently taken place purely online. Surprisingly (but not actually) it involved the U.S. election. What was so amazing about “Draft Our Daughters” was the fact that is purely developed over the internet, the movement was organised and carried out completely online. Yet, the effects carried into real life, with the possibility that they did in fact swing, or at least affect, the election outcome.
Draft our Daughters came as a result of Hilary Clinton revealing that she supports women registering for their countries draft i.e. enlisting for the military. A Trump supporter posted a ridiculous meme on Twitter,
basically mocking Clinton. This seemed to sit well with fellow Trump supporters, who discussed this on 4CHAN. 4CHAN is an online forum type of platform, in which users are all anonymous and are given specific codes so they can be recognised during the conversing on the thread. They also have their country flag next to their anonymous code. Here’s the thing, there is no threading, they can reply to certain posts however. Another feature, they have no profiles, you cannot see their post history (i.e. what else they may be posting on) and possibly most importantly for me, they cannot directly message each other. So really, it’s just anonymous conversation where all is out in the open, and no-one will ever or can ever be revealed.
So this media space starts discussing the memes creation, and the genius behind it. The users start thinking about potential hashtags, creating more and more memes, ridiculing Hilary’s support for women enlisting. They use satirical captions, text that almost distorts Hilary’s actual view on the subject. This happened in real-time. People were posting in this thread, asking for feedback before releasing their creations into the wider web.
Concepts were discussed through the thread, they were sharing a logo, even a font, and even discussed colours text should be in. Slogans were created too. So this was being created as it was released in a more public domain. The anonymity of the thread helped many users to become involved as thoughts, ideas, and creations could be criticised without being connected to a certain individual or persona. In other words, your meme could’ve sucked, but no-one would ever know it was yours.
Eventually, the hashtag #draftourdaughters was created. Many memes were posted on Twitter and some on Facebook. The collective intelligence allowed for a professional look, the real logo and the similarity of each meme meant they appeared as if they were really from Clinton’s campaign. Even those memes which did appear quite harsh, with black humour which could be recognised as not legitimate for Hilary’s campaign, still caused their consumers to second guess what Hilary’s support of enlisting women really meant.
This all occurred in October, very close to the election day. Of course, it is impossible to distinguish a link between consumers of this campaign and if their vote was effected. However, from a personal point of view, users who mainly source their opinions and values through the internet I believe would’ve been highly likely to have been swung, effected, or even just second guess themselves after being exposed to this propaganda at such rapid and constant rates.
So after all that, there’s a prime example of how memes really can change the world. Or even change how we think or how we interpret information.
P.S. Another example memes effect on society and of the use of 4CHAN here is the bendable iphone movement.
Contrary to legacy media, memes are unstructured, easy to make, and in most cases do not require a large cost, or risk a large amount of failure. They are widely consumed, easily consumed, and if are not consumed, do not suffer from vast ramifications.
Quick side note, this post is purely my opinion on memes and my experience with them, melded together with what my tutors and lecturers have told me. Okay, unpause, continue article.
Personally, I associate memes with humour, whether dark or lighthearted, well thought through or simple Neanderthal jokes, they all strike a funny bone in my body. Before taking the course I’m now taking, that’s all they were to me; a regurgitated idea presented in a creative, simple manner, and were able to be quickly consumed. Nowadays, I think quite similarly, except I add one more element, that they in some way affect your method of thinking. Not in a crazy, trying to change the whole world in a 5 line string of words way, but in a sneaky, dark alleyway sense. Okay not that dark, but in a concealed way. In a way in which you come across election memes 3 times a minute, and don’t realise the effect they are having on you. You see, before this course, what pretty much never crossed my mind was just how effective memes really are.
Picture this, you’re scrolling down your news feed and you see a meme about an issue you have little to no side on. You read it, have a laugh, or show a friend, and then keep scrolling. Doesn’t seem like a huge issue, but slowly more and more memes about the same issue come up. And suddenly without knowing it, you slowly begin to take a stance on the issue. You start scrolling through the comments, engaging in debate on the issue. Or maybe you stay on the fence, but still take memes as “real” information, legit information that helps you build a backbone for both sides of the argument.
To me, memes work like advertisements, except simpler and not always intentional. But they are similar in the sense that our overexposure of certain issues means we subconsciously dedicate brain space to them. Much like you remember certain catchphrases to ads, you too remember certain memes and therefore issues you may not have exposure or interest in, you are almost unwarily being subjected to.
So really, after all this waffle about memes are how they low-key affect you, I’ll leave you in suspense for my next post; a clear example of how memes really did change the world in real-time.
P.S. it has to do with the American election and I promise you it’ll interest you as much as it interested me.
Here’s Britney Spears, politely informing every one of their roles as citizen journalists (really, not really). Okay, even though she isn’t actually saying that, if she was, she’d be right.
The rise of technology, and social media at that, means we are constantly remaining connected. TO our phones, to each other, to what is happening around us. We are in a constant state of both consuming, but also producing. The emerging of this media threatens the journalism profession and more importantly, the traditional way of delivering news to the public. Journalism is a profession in crisis (so glad I chose to major in it…).
See, traditional news, which here I will refer to as ‘legacy media’, has almost every element of itself being endangered. Think of newspapers, the news was packaged for us, we has to buy this “package” in order to consume said news (so we trust this one and only news source), and then advertisers are more or less required to buy into the advertising space which was exclusive and limited to newspapers. If you compare every part of this chain of events, the rise of modern-day media and citizen journalism is the causation of the destruction of legacy media. Personally, I feel they cannot concurrently thrive to their full potential; one of them must give way.
The current best way to meet supply and demand, is through the internet. A vast amount of the world’s population is exposed to and interacts with the internet. Key word here; interacts.
See, that’s what threatens the legitimacy of what we consume today. With everyone being able to add their 2 cents into every occurrence, where is the filter? How can we possibly begin to determine what is valid, what is opinion, what is even real? Okay for what is real, I’ll address that in a later post.
But as for citizen journalism, i.e. public interaction, it is not the legitimacy of the actual news that is being threatened, but instead, how this news is then presented, and furthermore how this news is re-presented as it passes through each individual. Individuals may film, comment, photograph, their own interpretation of a situation and the internet’s ability to spread this virally means stories are published and shared by literally ANYONE. Not that this is wrong, but in saying that, the whole point is to leave the journalism up to the journalists right?
I’m totally all for news and stories coming from the raw source, but this lacks professionalism, this lacks a whole other side of the story too, in most cases, this may usually lack some fact. I mean, imagine if we didn’t check childcare workers. Literally anyone would just mind our kids; how unrealistic and preposterous is that idea! Yet, with citizen journalism, we’re consuming anything we see as news, from literally anyone.
So really, I don’t know my stance on this phenomenon in the end. I do value real journalism (possibly because it’ll be my career and I need a job at some point) but in saying that, I do like being able to hear the story from the source, unpolished. I like that we can all comment in real-time, and contribute to what we deem fit. But please hold sacred real, professional journalism; and keep my industry alive.
Digital making and craft captures a creative process. This process has evolved over many years to lead us to the digital age we have today.
Originally, before industrial culture, everything was made by hand. Almost impossible for us to imagine these days, when we have almost everything at our fingertips. Production was artisanal, there was not usually a direct correlation between what could be imagined and what could be created.
Fast forward to industrial culture, which still held sharp boundaries between conception and production. This often involved an assembly line, and the mass production of objects. Most likely, your parents grew up in this era; the one that came before the internet.
Unimaginable to us, Millennials/Gen Y, is a time where the internet was non-existent. I mean, sure, we lived through dial-up internet where you had to make sure no one was using the home phone. And sure, we “suffered” through the time when smart phones didn’t exist and mobile phones were simply for calling, texting, and to play ‘bounce‘. But what about before any of this existed. Could you imagine not being able to contact someone unless via letter, or on the home phone?
However, impossible that may be, the real point of this post is to focus on the craft, and the digital making process that has simplified it for us. Digitalisation has dissolved the boundaries between what we can imagine and what we can actually create. Production is determined by the logical of mass customisation. We are no longer worried about ‘one size fits all’, but more, ‘one size that can be easily adapted to properly account for everyone individually’.
Without touching on too many distinct and difficult terms, present day digital aesthetics focus on a few main elements.
Rapid prototyping, think about making a truck load of memes and posting the two best. Digital allows for the constant ability to create many versions before the final one.
Experimentation, that is, you are able to create whatever you like, in whatever way you please. You can fail numerous times before you succeed.
Error discovery, you can make mistakes many times over, before you reach the conclusion of how you will create something, and what you will create!
Modification leading to unexpected outcomes, this is almost like adaptability, your openness to constantly be changing and modifying your product or creation. Often, you will go or end up in a direction you did not imagine you would be.
All in all, the digital age has opened up various doors for creativity. But more than that, it has allowed us the ability to actually have the ability to follow through and physically create what we have imagined. Money is not so much a barrier anymore, the failure of an online meme will not set us financially back, our attempts at making a YouTube account will not leave us too out-of-pocket. Failure does not hold the ramifications it once did.
This is important, our ability to constantly portray messages and information in unique ways, means individuals are more empowered. Information is consumed in ways, often without the consumer realising just how much of an effect it has on them. We can even recreate something that already exists, and remediate it into something entirely new; all within our digital devices. We hold immense power at our fingertips (literally), and can only hope to utilise this in ways not done before.
So, what are you waiting for? Go create, prototype, fail and succeed!
I used to be told to be careful with my words, as once they are out, they cannot be taken back. Apparently now, I too have to be careful about HOW I convey my words.
The medium is the message basically encompasses the idea that how something is being delivered, is just as important as what is delivered. Any extension of ourselves can be a medium, think chair, hands, shoes, rooms. They affect how we receive or how others receive messages. Sounds a bit complex doesn’t it?
“Think of a cinema”. They use the medium of lights. By eliminating them, turning them off, they allow us to receive the movie differently. Imagine receiving a horror film in broad daylight, not so scary anymore is it? By simply altering a medium, the message is now different. Think of how often arguments over text message or Facebook inbox, are generated from nothing at all. The same message said face to face, will be conveyed and received differently. The medium is altering the message.
Trajectories of convergence have caused and are causing rapid changes in mediums. We certainly live very differently to our grandparents. This “change in our societal or cultural grounds conditions indicated the presence of a new message, that is, the effects of a new medium.” (as mentioned by Ted in the Lecture, Week 3)
Even the simple comparison of print news, to now online news, is astounding. Now, we can comment directly on the story as it is released. We may even debate with others about the same topic, in real-time. Now, to consume news, you may even be illiterate, and can simply listen to interact and consume. This new medium has changed the scale of the message, as well as the way we interact and behave with it.
Due to these advancements, there are many forms of media which are now dead. Floppy disks, videos, and cassettes are some examples. In order to survive with our constant change of mediums, they must mutate to survive. A modern-day form of music production, is as a Disk Jockey (DJ). However, they are simply using a mutated version of the vinyl record. The possibility to do so was due to the ability of the vinyl to be manipulated to any part of the record, it was not created to do so; but its ability to do so it was helped it survive the changing mediums.
Here is the first gif I’ve every created. It was quite interesting to play around with the generator, and overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I think that it would be reasonably effective as it is a widely known gif and has minimal text. Obviously, the text is straight from the content I have discussed this week. I would’ve liked the text to be smaller, or split into the top and bottom of the picture, but I was unable to do this. With more practice and use of the gif generator, I hope to improve these aspects.