Social life within the workplace – Ethnographic Study Pitch Part 2

In part 1 of my blog post I talked about the what and how of my pitch, highlighting my curiosity for the topic and what it actually was. It can be found here. This blog post is talking about my plan in how I am going to undertake the research.

How?

The first thing that I plan to do is to download a Chrome Extension that allows me to see all previous Facebook messages in a simpler format. I plan to use ‘Message/Chat Downloader’ in particular as I have used it before to find some old messages. From here I’m going to track down rough dates on when I first started, when I started becoming friends with my co-workers, my promotion and where I am now. Hopefully these specific moments of my span of working at my job will provide unique context and perceptive that can further help me in my research task.

The group chats

There are three main group chats that I will be using for my research are:

“Timezone Miranda Chat” – This group chat was made by my boss to allow for communications between staff members at the store. It includes every single staff member and ranges from shift swaps to important announcements that impact the store. It isn’t used that much as the younger staff members don’t really need to make announcements.

“Timezone MOD Chat” – This group chat was also made by my boss to allow for communications between managers at the store. This group chat is used daily as it is integral to our communications. It ranges from games being out of order, change of plans, revenue generated, general problems and also important announcements.

“Manager$ $kuxx” – This group chat was made when I first became a manager. It includes myself and two other managers. If it wasn’t already clear, this group chat is barely about work, and at the time, was purely used as a way for us to chat about anything really. We were all friends outside of work at the time so it was just a way for us to talk without using the general chat. However, it was also slightly work related as we still discussed some parts of work that we weren’t comfortable with telling other staff members, such as complaints or worries.

 

The Plan

After I have analysed these three group chats, I plan to summarise each of them in a video, highlighting interesting communication habits or changes throughout, and then hopefully being able to show these in a way that’s understandable. I’m a bit worried that something that may be obvious to me may not be as obvious to someone who doesn’t know me. However, I am going to try and be transparent throughout to stop this from occurring.

 

Social life within the workplace – Ethnographic Study Pitch Part 1

What? –

For my Ethnographic Study I want to explore how I have changed since I started working at my job as opposed to now after 2 and a half years. More specifically, I want to focus on how I have changed in a social sense through the use of my communication skills, individual interactions and the various forms of different group chats. Additionally, I also want to focus on how I have changed in terms of communication and behavior since taking on a more advanced role within the company, and how that has affected my communication between co-workers.

I came to the conclusion that I wanted to study this particular topic through trial and error. My first idea was to interview my co-workers and ask a particular set of questions that would highlight and explain my personal growth of communications from since I started until now. The idea was to see people’s perspectives of myself and my communications since I myself would be an unreliable source. However, this idea was scrapped as my tutor pointed out that it’s murky grounds and the issue of me having too much power over the conversation is present.

 

Why? –

I’m doing this study because I’m genuinely curious to see how I personally communicate within a workforce. I am under the impression that I am a laid back person but will get work done if needed, but after under taking this research I may find that I am completely wrong about myself. Additionally, I am also curious to see the social spiderweb of my workplace and see how much it has changed over the years that I have worked there.

 

Research – 

So to begin this study, the first thing that I aim to do is find some academic sources on workplace communications to get an understanding of how they work in a broad sense. Although, this isn’t a main focus of mine as a journal article isn’t going to understand my individual communications with my co-workers, however, it might explain my general behaviors from a scientific context which can provide an overview of it all and allow me to further understand my actions.

Due to this, majority of the study of my research will be focused on the previous and current Facebook group chats that I’ve been involved in, using timestamps to indicate when these messages were sent. The context of the message isn’t the important part in this study, the important part is to see how my behavior and general context of writing has changed. Was my grammar lose or was it professional? Was I joking around or being serious? When did I begin to feel more comfortable? Was there a shift of communication  when my role within the company changed? These questions can’t be answered unless I physically go back and see how I acted for myself.

 

Screens – The subtle brainwash

Screens once solely existed to provide entertainment to those who viewed it. It was a simple contrast to how it is in today’s day and age, where screens are used for almost everything. If anything, nowadays it would be strange not to use a screen to accomplish day to day tasks. The screen has evolved and morphed to have a constant use throughout almost everyone’s life, through smartphones, tablets and televisions. After reading Dr Mehta’s report “Advertisements Showing Children: An Ethical Perspective”, it inspired me to focus on how screens are used in displaying advertisements, as opposed to focusing on what uses screens. Fortunately, I also work at Timezone which is an arcade that caters mainly towards children, so this allows for a unique perspective.

Like most stores, Timezone has screens absolutely everywhere, mostly used for advertising but each screen serves a different purpose in terms of advertising.

double dollars

Kiosk – The Kiosk screens are the first thing you see when you walk into my store. Before you even touch the screen it is already advertising what deals are available. In addition to this, the advertisement sneakily makes the “$100 deal” look fancier, using different colours and borders. After clicking the screen, it has a step by step guide on how to load up your card with money. Finally, it tries to change your deal you chose if it is in the lower bracket. For example, if you choose a $25 deal, it will ask you if you want to upgrade to a $35 deal. This shows how screens can advertise without you even wanting it to, even though you are in complete control using the touch screen.

Counter Screens – Much like the kiosk screens, the counter screens also constantly display advertisements. They are positioned around the counter where customers buy cards and display the deals that are available. This ensures the advertisements are being seen by the customers.

Main area screens – The main area screens are a lot more tricky than the other screens. They mainly showcase the video clip to the song that is currently playing. But, interestingly, every 5 minutes the video clip is interrupted by a 30 second advertisement. This is done because the video clip draws the attention to the screen, so when the advertisement is played, guests are already looking at the screen, forced to take in the information.

Reader screens –  Reader screens are a form of indirect advertising. They do not advertise deals or packages, however, they advertise the experience itself. When a customer wins tickets on a game, the reader flashes a rainbow pattern and an exciting sound is played. This form of advertising is especially effective on children, as it releases dopamine, making them feel like they have accomplished something and should keep trying to win more tickets.

Without the use of screens, this form of advertising would not be as nearly as effective.

 

References:

Mehta, D., Mehta, N.K., 2017. Advertisements Showing Children: An Ethical Perspective. CLEAR International Journal of Research in Commerce & Management 8, 44–46.

 

Why watching something on ‘The Big Screen’ is over-rated.

Look, I’ve never been that into movies. I am a very fidgety person, I can’t sit still without having to do something with some part of my body. It’s why I will always opt for video games over television or movies, otherwise I become agitated and bored. So to get me to go to the movies, the movie itself has to be nothing short of amazing or I’m not coming.

So naturally, when Avengers: End Game was announced, I decided that I would be going to the movies to see it. When the time came to see the movie, we organised a few things.

movie

Coupling – “the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time”

My partner and I live two minutes away from each other, so when they picked me up it wasn’t an issue. Additionally, we chose a later time to see the movie, which was at 9pm. We hoped that this would be late enough that kids weren’t going to be around and it also added the benefit that we could go straight to bed after the movie.

Capability – “limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors”

The movies are in a suburb 5 minutes away from us (Cronulla) so capability wasn’t an issue at all. We also both have a car so getting there was easy and due to it being a later movie, there was a lot of parking.

Authority – “an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups”

We booked our tickets online and reserved our seats weeks before the movie aired. To our dismay, a group of teenagers had taken our seats. After asking them to move, they refused. So naturally, we got security to escort them to another seat. Although it was resolved, it made the start of my movie experience an agitated one.

It got worse.

We had a lady behind us who was an avid fan of the MCU. That’s totally fine and I’m glad she was enjoying herself. The issue however, is that she was enoying herself to the point where I was around 3 seconds from a break down. Let me explain.

  • Commentary

I am watching the movie. I’m aware whats going on, you repeating what is on the screen is absolutely infuriating. You don’t need to yell out “America’s Ass!” every 4 seconds.

  • Seat kicking

I get it. It’s exciting. Please don’t kick my seat every time someone gets punched, that’s like – the entire movie. My back was literally sore because my seat got kicked that much.

  • Melodramatic

She would cackle at the smallest things and gasp at someone getting hurt. In an action movie. The worst part was when the sad part of the movie (which I wont spoil) inevitably happens. She was an absolute mess, wailing, screaming and crying. I understand it’s sad but it’s just characters. None of this is real.

Needless to say, I haven’t been to another movie since. This is probably something that won’t happen for a long time and I was just un-lucky, but still, I can’t even look at a movie theater without my back aching. The worst part is that if that lady wasn’t there, I’m almost certain I would of actually really enjoyed the movie, and it might have even changed my mind about movie theaters.

 

References:

Constraints – Geography [WWW Document], n.d. URL <http://geography.ruhosting.nl/geography/index.php?title=Constraints>
(accessed 8.12.19).

 

Corbett, J., 2001. Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography. CSISS Classics.

The Nintendo DS – A pocketful of memories.

I still remember getting my Nintendo DS for Christmas, it was one of exciting days of my life. My neighbor who lived behind me (Liam) and I had been talking about getting one since they were released, and as fate had it, he also revived a Nintendo DS for Christmas.

This started years of memories with a piece of plastic. We would both go over to each-others house and try shout into our microphones, trying to get our Nintendogs to learn their names. If we got bored of that we would both race each other in Mariokart. Although on face value, reading this doesn’t sound exciting as millions of kids did this, but to me and Liam, this was one of the most amazing times of our little lives, and to this day I’m sure he would agree.

DS

This memory relates to the article ‘Theorising media as practice’ by Nick Couldry in which is discusses the role of media in culture. A quote that I can heavily relate to and is a constant idea throughout this story is “We cannot really isolate the role of media in culture, because the media are firmly anchored into the web of culture, although articulated by individuals in different ways … The ‘audience’ is everywhere and nowhere”.

With the role of the media articulated in different ways by individuals, the the DS Lite was released, which changed everything. The device became so much more popular than before, and so many different games were being released. Virtually everyone at school had one, and I still giggle and a tinge of excitement runs through my body when I think about the pictochats we had on the bus, which was full of talking smack about teachers. Sitting in the classroom playing 8 player Mariokart with my friends from across the room was probably one of the most thrilling and scandalous parts of my childhood (I was a goody-two-shoes), I genuinely have no idea how I didn’t get caught. We can’t forget the universal act that every child with a DS would do by hiding it under their pillow and pretending to be asleep when mum walks in.

Looking back, the DS as a media form as a whole was never really about the games in a lot of aspects. The device itself let you play with up to 8 of your friends. Even if only one of you had the game, you could still all play. It didn’t need WiFi either, all you needed was someone with a DS. It was a lot more simple. It made hanging out with your friends exciting, and of course, we still did all the things that normal kids did like ride bikes, go outside and be general nuisances. But the DS became part of our schedule, instead of going home and watching TV, instead, me and my brother would load up Mario Kart and play that together. It was a form of entertainment that while you played together, it felt separate. You could do whatever you wanted with your device, and nobody would tell you otherwise.

The simplicity of it all was what made it such an iconic device. Something about just being that young and innocent with no responsibilities, armed with a device that allows you to have an afternoon of fun is an idea that, unfortunately,  I’ll never be able to relive. It’ll never be the same. I don’t have time to do that anymore, and games like that just aren’t fun anymore. My friends don’t even own DS’s, they are a thing of the past. However, even though we don’t want to whip them out again, everyone who is my age can tell you all about their DS and the stories of how their mum caught them on Pictochat after bed time. It’s something that I’m glad remained in the past, because if it didn’t, I don’t think these memories would be as bittersweet.

References:
Couldry, N., 2004. Theorising Media as Practice. Social Semiotics 14, 115–132. https://doi.org/10.1080/1035033042000238295

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