For my television seminar, we were required to document a “media diary.” Record your consumption of any and all media in a 24-hour time period. You’ll be amazed at the amount of media you actually consume without even recognizing it. Unfortunately, since I study media, I am never really separated from it. I make a concerted effort to go swimming once a week so that I could be sans media for at least half an hour (50 laps).
At the bottom of the document, there are a reflections on the diary: Is this a typical day? Are these typical behavioral patterns? What is Media? Are your media choices purposeful or habitual? How do your individual differences (e.g., personality, relationships, socio-cultural background, religion, personal beliefs) affect your media consumption?
Some of the highlights from my media diary:
- I wake up to CNN Live every morning.
- I take the bus, therefore I get to view the ads inside (which are disturbingly focused on a much poorer consumer than the outside advertising)
- DTLA is filled with massive storefronts and billboards advertising stores. Although you may skip over this as media, each of these storefronts are strategically fashioned to entice you into the store.
- Reading The Economist on the roof of my building.
NOTE: I did not belong to Facebook in 2005.
My full Media Diary:
SUNDAY – JANUARY 16, 2005
8-10pm FOX Sunday Night (Simpsons, Arrested Development, Family Guy x2)
- FOX post-Superbowl television: new Simpsons episode, new series: American Dad (integrating into media ritual, ensure attentive audience after ‘the big game’)
- Family based sitcoms: all white families representative of dysfunctional family (thank you FOX!)
Yahoo! Online Euchre (online card game) – Constant streaming ads: music, movies, other games, mortgaging home, win a free iPod!
10-11pm Golden Globes
- Alerted to this program by FOX local news
- Reminded by CNN carpet coverage
- Joan and Melissa Rivers on Larry King Live (next day Colin Powell)
- Jamie Foxx acceptance speech: Applauds Ray as a “beautiful black film”
- Mainstream has made it no longer a “Black film” but a piece of American culture. Ray’s role in American culture independent of role as Black icon?
- Commercial: McDonald’s dependence on its integration into American life for its ads
- News on CBS comes on after the Golden Globes, regardless of time, accounting for this media ritual
- Turn out the lights, watch the rest of the awards ceremony in the dark in bed, reminded of movie going experience, seems appropriate as most of the awards are for outstanding films.
- Auteur in TV? Executive producer accepts GG and speaks first even though everyone is on stage.
- Set alarm on TV: 7 am, CNN
MONDAY – JANUARY 17, 2005
7-8am CNN Live
8-9am Swimming – Sans media!
- I had originally planned on running, in which case I usually watch CNN on the television in the exercise room
- Pool is on the roof, I cannot see the billboards in DTLA, most face south on Figueroa, not blocked by the buildings
9-10am Online Euchre – streaming ads
- Read Boondocks Comic strip online (http://www.ucomics.com/boondocks)
- Post personal pictures online
- Peruse friends’ websites
- Add to Blog (http://themediamademecrazy.blogspot.com)
10-1pm Research work (studying multimedia effects on education and learning processes)
- Online Euchre
- Check email
1-2pm Jerry Springer
- Watch first 20 minutes, tape for class, mute TV while doing work
- I often leave the TV on mute, it provides an unobtrusive presences while I work, otherwise, I listen to classical music
2-3pm Cosby Show (record for class, turn off TV)
- Continue doing work
3-4pm Lunch: California Pizza Kitchen take out (three blocks from home)
- Listening to iPod
- Walking downtown (storefronts, taxis, buses)
- Sides of buildings – giant ads
- Are storefronts and marquees considered advertising? It is conveying a message and trying to attract customers
- New restaurant opening on first floor of my building, advertising in the windows, also blocking construction.
- Bus Ads
- Cheaper space is inside (accident lawyers, learning extension programs, money loans, etc.); people who ride the bus clearly do not have major disposable income, but everyone sees the bus as it drives down the street.
- Lunch on roof of building – Reading Economist
- Ads not visible from roof, I face south.
4-430pm Girlfriends for class (tape/watch)
430-7pm School work (reading about media)
- Set TV to record Unforgivable Blackness (Jack Johnson biography)
I don’t think that this was a typical day, I usually take the bus to and from school (four days a week) and on those days we usually have viewings in class. Also, some of the viewings were specifically because I was presenting in class, I have never watched a full girlfriends episode, nor to I regularly tune into Jerry Springer (anymore). On school days, I also carry and iPod. This Monday was different because I chose not to listen to the radio while I did school work; I typically listen to the classical channel because I cannot take in two textual streams at once. On weekends, I tend to leave CNN or MSNBC on mute while I do my work for a little company.
This is a typical graduate school pattern for me. I don’t get to watch so much television anymore because I cannot read and watch TV at the same time. Now I watch television intentionally, i.e. I turn on the television only when I’m expecting to watch something. In my undergrad and high school years, I would sit in front of the TV, and or computer and do my work (in high school, I spent most of that time on the phone as well).
WHAT IS MEDIA?
I tried to include everything possible (even the things that I usually see that I might have missed this day) including the discussions about the storefronts and other various advertising around DTLA. I believe that advertising (i.e., broadcast, print and storefronts or direct advertising) should be included in media consumption.
Once again, I take in media intentionally as I find it difficult to multi task. I make the conscious choice to turn on the television when I’m expecting a program (which unfortunately leads to me missing a lot of things I had originally intended to watch) and turn it off when I have something else to do (usually work). Although Sunday was a prime example of what causes me to jump channels, just a reminder that I’m missing something that I had intended to watch.
PURPOSEFUL AND ENJOYABLE
I try to make my media consumption always enjoyable. Although being in grad school for media studies has caused me to overload slightly on media. This diary has made me realize that I’m constantly consuming media even when I’m not consuming media, unless I’m swimming or sleeping. I made a conscious break in my Monday when I went swimming and chose to read The Economist on the roof. My TV habits I also see as a break in the forced media consumption of schoolwork and research. I get to sit back and watch Jeopardy while I’m making dinner or just relaxing. I ended up watching the Golden Globes as a part of schoolwork as I knew that we would be discussing it at some point.
I’m not too uncomfortable with my media consumption activities but I probably wouldn’t include the other, personal tasks that I conduct while I’m watching my TV. It’s my private space at home and I know that the TV isn’t watching back if I’m wandering around my apartment in my underwear.
I think that my choice to watch FOX Sunday night television says something about my personality. Those shows are marketed to a select demographic, young, college educated slackers (I mean slackers as an attitude, not as an occupation). Most of my time is spent alone in my apartment doing work or consuming media, so it’s clear that I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m not sure what it says about my socio cultural background, the fact that I have an iPod clearly denotes me as an active consumer but in LA this might be contrasted with the fact that I take the bus daily. The fact that I don’t go to work is acceptable and not really questions since we’re all students. As for religion, I don’t think that it says much, although if I had started earlier on Sunday, it would documented that I did not go to church. Waking up to CNN in the morning and reading The Economist makes obvious my political inclinations.