BCM210: Are sites like facebook offering us researchable content?

When gathering knowledge, we are conducting research. Most of the time in everyday life, we are researching without consciously knowing at the time. When I scroll through my facebook feed, I see all sorts of different articles (which seem to be mainly provided by unreliable, un-news-worthy sites. Yet, I open them, eagerly interested in acquiring the (not-so) important knowledge of:

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Riveting stuff. This is the everyday research we find ourselves subconsciously doing, but we cannot grant ourselves with a result in simply curiously opening pages that may or may not interest us.

However, there are significant differences between scholarly research and everyday research. According to Berger relating to Nietzsche’s (1987) theory, scholarly research is systematically structured, theory-based and has a man focus of knowledge about reality. Conversely and more simply, everyday research is intuitive; common sense-based and focuses on personal opinion.

In defining what media research actually is, it is important to recognize the crucial aspect of data collection. Research is generally quantitative or qualitative. To describe the characteristics of quantitative research, measurement is key. It focuses on the true information, statistics and solid data. Moreover, qualitative research does not involve numeric data or statistics, but covers theoretical concepts and interpretations of the information that is being researched.

So, qualitative research in retrospect to media and communications include case studies of popular culture, the philosophy of communication, literary or textual analyses, media criticism, and the product and effect of mass media. Moreover, quantitative media research includes experiments, content analysis, surveys and polls, and statistical techniques used to gain information (McCutcheon 2015).

Each research method can apply to different borders of communication. For example, considering mass media, qualitative techniques such as semiotics or ideological analyses (Berger 2014 p29) used to illustrate research depicts mass media’s audience as subjective with a high personal involvement. However, considering the effects of the media, quantitative techniques such as statistics or surveys will illustrate the extent of these effects.

The aspect of the media in which I would consider researching would be social media – there are so many different functions of social media, so many different things to do, and so influential and somewhat crucial in our everyday lives. While it fosters the “two-way” communications between organizations and the public unlike traditional forms of the media such as television and billboards, it allows us to share a variety of different forms of media within the social media kingdom, such as photos, videos and news articles.

While social media has created a ‘big bang’ like explosion of different platforms and applications, researching an example such as something like Tinder because it is new, controversial and requires low social involvement – simply a few photos of yourself and a short bio. I think its funny that in order to talk to somebody using the social dating app, you must be approved judging on your looks or what you’re photos have to offer. Isn’t society moving in a more down-to-earth direction where personality should be number 1? However, Sally Newell reported that there are over 50 million active users on tinder who check their accounts up to 11 times a day and spend an average of 90 minutes per day on the app (3 Mar 2015). Crazy! I think research is important in this context, as social media has the power to impact our lives to a larger extent than any media we have seen before.

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