Maddison-Kate harris

Food and Phones – A digital story telling project

I have worked in hospitality for just over two years now and have started to notice a growing trend. That trend is the use of mobile phones whilst dining out. People whilst physically socialising just can’t seem to let go of their online connectedness and personal public sphere. The use of phones in restaurants for instagraming, pinterest, twitter and check-ins have created a media space for people to connected over similar interests and communicate around the world. Due to this I have chosen to develop a digital story as I attempt to uncover insights about this new forming spatial media group. I will be looking at both secondary research findings and my primary research findings through conducting interviews.

Currently on Instagram (31/10/2015 at 2:00am) there is 8,439.961 posts that hashtag #foodstagram. This is a well-known colloquial hashtag for posting food online. The hashtag #food however has over a whopping 150 million posts. There is no doubt that looking at these images can get your tummy rumbling but why do people post these photos and does is affect anyone in the media space?


It has been debated whether using a mobile phone while out at dinner is inappropriate and when did we ‘lose’ our sense of dine etiquette? Josh Ozersky wrote in his article “Is It O.K. to Eat While Texting” That we need to identify customers as customers and not guests, that people are paying for a evening out and therefore should incur a right to do what they want, without judgement, even if this means the customer instagraming every dish that comes out of the kitchen. Throughout my experience in hospitality I have found that taking photos of your meals is the norm. When I discussed this with guests the last two weeks I attempted to understand why people take photos of their food. Many of them said that it is a way of experiencing it all again. That it gives insight into a holiday or trip they are on and helps them remember and show others their experiences in hope to trigger a more emotional and sensory response. I also found whilst discussing with patrons that there was no ethnographic trend in either gender nor age nor marital status. People were taking photos of both their dishes and beverages whether they were on dates, in business meetings or celebrating a function.

An article written by David McCormack explores how a restauranteur undertook an observation style experiment to discover why service in restaurants has got so much slower. McCormack’s findings reveal that the reason behind slower service times is due to mobile phone use as customers are too distracted with their screens then being in the ‘here and now’. The findings were that an average meal time in 2004 was 1 hour and 5 minutes while in 2014 it was 1 hour and 55 minutes due to customers distracted by taking photos.

Research has shown that people feel more comfortable sharing online through a screen rather than face to face. Therefore from this people are more likely to share their photos of food and dinning to create a space in media for people to connect, and this is part of the new trend in the food industry, creating a fad.image2

I interviewed two people in different areas from my workplace. The first was Georgia who is a waitress and bartender. Alike me, she experiences the same environment within the hospitality workplace and states “we almost create a performance in the way we plate food and garnish cocktails, other venues kitchens and many people when cooking at home do not go to the same amount of effort to present a dish and that could be a major reason people are so intrigued by what we do here”.

The second is William who works as a dessert chef in the kitchen. He agree
d with what had been stated and agrees he puts a lot of effort into how image1a plate looks and stated that “it is nice to feel like someone is appreciating the work it took to create such a delicate dish”. He also stated that he has his own
Instagram where he uploads the dishes he makes at work to help show his friends and followers his career from his point of view.


(An example of one of the desserts – By William)

The food industry scene also uses photos of their dishes as a marketing tool for a few years and is now increasing rapidly. Instead of looking at a menu we now look through images of a restaurants web page or through their social media such as Instagram and Facebook. This could be and influence and driving force of the new fad or taking photos of food in restaurants as the dish is an identifier of the venue. Due to this most restaurants do encourage the use of phones to take photos by providing free Wi-Fi in venues for patrons to use, it does create free marketing for the venue as a benefit. According to Statista 57% of people claimed it should be encouraged due to the nature of free advertising and 32% of people claimed they didn’t mind as long as taking the images was discrete with only 11% of people left who were either undecided or discouraged the use of phones and taking photos of meals in restaurants. Virgin mobile have noticed this new trend and fad and have come up with a way to help and encourage it. They have created the meal for a meal campaign that focusses on people taking a photo of their meals and posting on Instagram of Facebook with the hashtag #mealforameal and in turn virgin mobile will then give a real meal to a real person in need. This creates a way to make a real difference using what we do on a daily basis.

The blogging roller-coaster – A reflection on BCM240

Blogging this semester for BCM240 seemed to be focussed on personal reflection and where you fit in your own media place. This was reflected through each week’s topic choices as it was discussed in personal interviews for blog posts and small group tutorial discussions to help understand where you fit in, in the media place. I found these discussions useful when trying to understand each week and where I fit in and it was interesting to learn how it used to be before digital overload this was one of the challenges writing In public this semester. These discussions also helped when attempting to design and choose our own personal topics related to media, audience and place as I felt personally that this was a difficult task. As I felt choosing themes to apply to current topics and be interesting was a challenge however it pushed me to think more deeply about my writing and in turn I made links between both my international studies and media and communications study. I found in my writing I would apply trends in eras to how it is changing the way we use media day to day now. My main link I discuss throughout my blog is the era of postmodernism and post-post modernism. Generally this is the idea that there is so much information, with no new themes or creativity forcing people to no longer think about topics this is called pastiche and schizophrenic textularity. I found this interesting especially when studying concentration and how an influx of media and is distracting us.

I felt that blogging this semester had a sense of freedom. Through choosing our own discussion topics halfway through the session allowed us to creative an online persona as our personalities and persona was built on our choices of topics and our opinions in writing. This is something I struggle with as I feel like I haven’t managed to work out the balance of academic and blog writing style and feel my writing could be less casual. This is what I will continue to work on as I continue to blog throughout the media and communications degree.

Another thing I found challenging was timing and organisation especially in weeks 1-5 with the many interviews conducted on different topics covered throughout the semester. I found that it took me a little while longer to get back into the routine of writing and thinking deeply per week. However in hindsight the interviews and discussions gave insight that research couldn’t provide. This was evident in the interview with my father about television through generations. It was interesting learning about the media trends and how they have changed since ‘back in the day’.

As we started to create online personas through more writing freedom I felt it helped create relationships with other BCM bloggers online. I felt this also happened as we broke up into small groups in tutorial time to discuss the core topics as we focused on case study’s that we found interesting and in turn found other people in the class with similar interests and opinions with resulted in interesting discussion.

One of the topics I found significantly interesting was the emergence of digital media on affecting concentration. In our tutorial we attempted to watch a short 5 minute music video and concentrate solely on the video. I found after 30 seconds I wasn’t fully focussed however was still vaguely watching the video and screen, however after another minute I was zoned out and bombarded by Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Word Press, text messaging and online shopping. Still as I sit here writing this reflection, it is not without distraction and of course, Netflix. This made me think about my attention span and make me question what ‘full’ concentration really does mean.


Another thing I found challenging this semester was changing and modernising my BCM Word Press blog to give it a fresh new look that matched with my BCM twitter account. It took me a few weeks but I finally worked out how to add different pages and links from my Word Press main blog to other platforms and other subject blogging.

I can’t believe this session in nearly over already, time has flown blogging this semester for BCM240. Overall this subject helped collate my thinking on media, audiences and places within media through practical discussions, personal topic development and primary research through interviewing. Blogging to me seems like a rollercoaster, constantly changing directions, I can’t wait to see where the next ride takes me.

Driven to Distraction

Throughout my studies of doing Media and Com/International Studies double degree I have found many topics have appealed to me in a way I seem to be able to connect them to every aspect of my study and day to day life. One of these things is the era of the Post Modern. I studied closely Fredrick Jameson’s writings on the era and found there was two key concepts that can apply the media use now. The first concept is pastiche, the idea of repetition throughout media and literature which has resulted in writings being taken lightly and/or read with or parody without any reason and the second concept being schizophrenic textulaity, the idea that there is too much information resulting in  no seriousness or deep thought. So my question for this week is, How does this overload of information and media devices and platforms effect the quality of our university study.

The University of Colorado conducted A experiment on distraction by this new digital age. They looked at the connection between distraction of mobile phones and success in subjects at university. It was conducted by two freshman at the university as they attempt to understand the challenges of studying and concentration. They discovered that not only are mobile phones the biggest distraction in study halls, 70% of all students text in class and from that 70% they would receive almost half a grade lower compared to those undistracted by the constant buzz. It is stated that perhaps stricter rules should be in place for mobile phone use to stop the dysfunctional and alarming trend.

Chernus, I, Unknown date, “Fredric Jameson’s interpretation of postmodernism”, Viewed 4 October 2015

Jameson, F. 1983. ‘Postmodernism and consumer society’, in H. Foster (ed.) The Anti-Aesthetic, Port townsend: Bay Press, 111-125.

Bryce Eaton, Natalie Rechter, University of Colorado

Connection Myths

We constantly discuss in this session about audiences, media and how we connect through different media platforms. But the debate on connectedness or lack-of still seems relevant. It’s such a trend to be dialled in with no means of stopping. We lived with our phones constantly in hand and never further than eye distance away and it begs the question, are we more socialised or is this sense of connection a false myth?

The Daily Mail wrote an article called all the lonely Facebook friends. It explored a study that showed Facebook can in fact decrease well-being and rise a sense of loneliness. The study was conducted by a University of Michigan psychologist called Ethan Kross. The study showed that the main problems are the negative new style of interaction with others and the way we see ourselves. Overall the study concluded that social media reduces overall life-satisfaction. Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in the new York times on this issue and stated ‘Each step “forward” has made it easier, just a little, to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity.’ (Foer, J, S, 2013)

Alex Grieg, 13 September 2013, ‘All the lonely facebook friends’, Visited 3/10/2015

Being connected is the new ‘black’

This week I am doing another interview of my dad who I also interviewed in week two about his memories of television in his household. This weeks topic is on Radio, television and the telephone and how it all brought news and images from the outside world into the private home. I will be commenting on how domestic broadband changed the way we understand the experience and meaning of home and whether the technological changes have impacted on a sense of place in media space.

As stated in week two, I feel my networked home may be different to many. In my household we have rules regarding family time, social networking, phone use and the television. For starters we will always eat dinner at the dining table, free from all the buzz to do with media platforms. Like previously stated in my introduction post, fitting in with the new networks and media platforms is like a fashion trend and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon! The influence of radio, television and the telephone brings with it connotations of being connected and a whole, however I propose the question if it has connected anyone at all, rather has is only separated us further!


I asked my dad what he thinks these media platforms have brought into our private home and he stated, it has brought in a sense of no privacy. This made me think about our tutorial discussions surrounding our sense of place in media space. Almost thinking that the influence and rise of technological advances to connect people have merged lives together creating no main sense of home. Dad and I discussed this in terms of me currently living out of home, I use their internet and Netflix (of course) and while it makes me feel like I am at home, the reality is, I’m not, rather through media platforms I am still in this ‘networked’ home.

Back at home (Thirroul, Northern Suburbs) we haven’t yet been introduced to NBN but we are impatiently awaiting it’s arrival. Dad suggested that while when we have family time, devices are down, the minute we’re on our own and free to roam the web we are dependent on staying online. This was reflected heavily when iinet went down a month ago, while this lasted a mere 30minutes, it felt like a lifetime. Dad stated that this merge of home has impacted our sense of place and home, making it not more connected but rather more disconnected.

A reflection on television through the times

It became evident to me that my television and family experiences were perhaps different to many other peers’ experiences being discussed in the tutorial. For starters, dinner in front of the TV in my house is practically unheard of! I therefore decided to interview my dad, to find out how television impacted his life at my age and look at television through the ages.

IMAGE; From Here

My dad is from the southern shire and turns 50 in December at the end of this year. My dad grew up with his three siblings and his father (my grandfather) he is the youngest sibling out of three, he explained that this meant he never chose what to watch. He explained that for a lot of his young teens, his father was working a lot, this meant that he had a lack of whole family time, especially at meal times. Therefore my dad’s older brother would then take care of the family for the night, by setting them up I front of the tv with dinner to keep them entertained. He explained there was one communal room with one television, he said comparing today’s norms.  According to the ACMA in 2011 there is now an average of 2.2 televisions per household and surely the numbers have risen again this year! My dad remembers fighting over the remote and losing every time, his tv experience revolved around local news, game shows and M.A.S.H. However he said the choice back then compared to now is ‘off the chart’.

Dad explained that there was too little choice then and too much choice now! This is a reflection from the post-modern and post post-modern eras that we are currently passing through. He thought on the lack of family time he had then and stated that his younger years and experiences are reflected in how we now use and the rules to abide by with the television and various similar platforms in our household today!

Unknown Author, June 2012, (Visited Souce 16/08/15)

Fitting in – My place in media space

Being ‘connected’ on all media platforms is like fitting into a fashion trend, it’s treated as a rite of passage in today’s post-modern society. As I sit here and start the semester off blogging for BCM240, part of me is distracted by the constant dings, rings and buzzes on my phone next to me. Whether it is snapchat, Instagram, twitter, facebook, texting or calling, I automatically jump to my phone when it shows any sign of life! (This also makes staying focussed difficult).



My name is Maddison but call me Maddie for short, I am a second year BCMS/INTS student majoring in marketing and advertising. I have probably been on the social media bandwagon since 14/15 and would definitely admit, I’m an addict! It is hard to see where I fit in, in the media space, I feel connected on many levels to my peers but also disconnected to the real world! My life revolves around media platforms, whether its staying connected to colleagues at work, catching up on the latest gossip or telling my best friend all about the ‘hot’ guy that served me coffee at rush this morning. It makes me question if I could handle a day without my regular media fix.

I hope to get to know many of you fellow bloggers soon!

Netflix Aus vs Illegal Streaming

This week is interview week and in our tutorial we discussed University Students and the rise of movie and tv piracy and the effect on illegal downloading and streaming since Netflix. So I went along the lines of this to understand if age is the independent variable with illegal downloading and streaming by interviewing a friend from work.

I asked her first some general questions about what she likes to watch, which I gathered from this was American tv series. She said she probably watches 3-4 hours a week of tv series online per week. I asked how she watches most of her tv series, but she was reluctant for me to post specifics on my blog.

She said “it’s not that I want to watch these tv series without paying for them, there is just nothing available out there that is decently priced, available and has what I want to watch”.

I proceeded to ask her opinions on Netflix in what she replied “I actually have just subscribed to it and for $7 ish per month onto my internet bill its brilliant, however it has not stopped me viewing things online. Netflix aus whilst has some tv series, it has a high lack of movies”.

Ending the interview she stated “if Netflix improved its availability of tv series and movies, I would have no need to be online in the first place, however online seems to be the only option for me to actually follow the shows I want, and i don’t feel like that is something illegal”.

The piracy debate

Piracy seems to be a large deal at the moment, with the law cases surrounding the film “Dallas Buyers Club”, iinet and illegal streaming and downloading. Therefore this week I am analysing and discussing the article “iiNet refuses to give up customers over ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ piracy” by Claire Reilly.

This text is about the ‘Dallas Buyers Club” rights holders pursuing many ISP’s, including iinet, to reveal the names of customers alleged to have downloaded the Oscar-winning film illegally. The audience can be considered broad, it could include iinet users, rights holders of “Dallas Buyers Club”, people who have illegally downloaded/streamed movies and fans of the “Dallas Buyers Club”. From the text, it can be assumed that the reader would be interested as it provides up to date facts and for some readers may present an issue due to them allegedly downloading the film in discussion. I would consider myself as part of the intended audience as I am with iinett for my internet provider. The authors opinion is clear due to the ideas presented and justified throughout the article, not many critiques of the topic are presented. This may be something to argue to consider when critiquing this article. Research and sources are up to date, but only points up for discussion are those which present the writers view. A lot of method or proof comes in forms of quotes from iinet and rights holders in court, then analysed. It is organised well and written formally in third person, with no jargon.

In conclusion is is important to reflect on the lack of representation for many sides of the issue. To complete the article it needs to address the issues for the rights holders equally as much as the people who have downloaded the film.

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