We were first given the article by Sarah Banet-Weiser called ‘Branding the Post-Feminist Self: Girls’ Video Production and YouTube’, and told to look at the references on the back to find a text or book that we were interested in. I decided to go and find ‘Youth, Identity and Digital Media by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning‘.
A summary of points made in the book,
As young people today grow up in a world saturated with digital media, how does it affect their sense of self and others? As they define and redefine their identities through engagements with technology, what are the implications for their experiences as learners, citizens, consumers, and family and community members? This addresses the consequences of digital media use for young people’s individual and social identities. The contributors explore how young people use digital media to share ideas and creativity and to participate in networks that are small and large, local and global, intimate and anonymous. They look at the emergence of new genres and forms, from SMS and instant messaging to home pages, blogs, and social networking sites. They discuss such topics as “girl power” online, the generational digital divide, young people and mobile communication, and the appeal of the “digital publics” of MySpace, considering whether these media offer young people genuinely new forms of engagement, interaction, and communication.
This book was describing how young people use different forms of digital media to stay connected to each other. How they can form their own ‘brands’ online. This book was a step-up from Banet-Weiser’s somewhat weak argument and I found it slightly more interesting. Following on from this book I had to then find another book that was relevent to the line of research I was following. So I went to look in the media section of the library and found this book ‘Television and the Quality of Life, How viewing Shapes Everyday Experiences, By Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’. The book caught my attention because of the title and how it related to the other texts I had read, but also because it was written in the 1950’s, the other two texts I had read were modern so I thought it would be interesting to read about how people thought about media when it first started to emerge.
Chapter 9 interested me the most, it is titled ‘A brief review of major findings: Reclaiming the idea of media effects’. The chapter describes the effects of watching television, how people feel more relaxed when watching a show they enjoy, but they also concentrate less and use fewer skills than most daily activities. ‘Viewing is often driven by the wish to escape or avoid negative affective states’ (page 172). It also describes why the television is so popular, because it can be watched for hours at a time without the person getting bored and it is an activity one can do alone or in a group.
‘Television is a new, hard test of our wisdom. If we succeed in mastering this new medium it will enrich us. But it can also put our mind to sleep.’ Arnheim (1935)