My findings clearly demonstrate that media plays a prominent role in my life, I’d be somewhat lost without it. Since moving to University, and subsequently 40 miles from home, media as a form of communication has become imperative to me.
The use of Twitter is a reoccurring one in my media landscape; this is something that does not surprise me. In a recent article he wrote for Metro, political Comedian Matt Forde described Twitter as moving from ‘being quite banal with people tweeting pictures of their dinners’ to ‘a tribal war where people try to humiliate and expose others rather than listen to them’ [Metro, 2018]. This, I believe, is why Twitter has become so immensely popular amongst the younger demographic; it’s a place to laugh, mock and have an opinion. It seems Twitter recognised this shift in purpose too, changing its strapline from ‘What are you doing?’ to ‘Follow your Interests’. In short, several users, including myself, use it simply as a form of gratification.
McQuail (1969) devised a set of four ‘Uses & Gratifications’ that the media aim to serve to an audience, these are:
[Long & Wall, Media Studies]
Surveillance – The ability to have a knowledge of the world around us and its goings-on.
Personal Identity – The ability to express our identity through the media; tastes, fashion, music etc.
Personal Relationships – The ability to create and sustain relationships with others via the use of a medium.
Diversion – The idea of an escapism from the ‘real world’; a fantasy or pleasure.
One could argue that Twitter offers all of these Uses & Gratifications to an audience, however personally, I use the Social Networking site as a means of expression, or, McQuail’s idea of ‘Personal Identity’. Twitter allows me to discuss things that I’m interested in such as football and music, enabling me to express my interest in these things amongst others who share such a curiosity.
McQuail’s theory is not only applicable to my use of Social Media. I subscribe to his parameters when considering my use of a multitude of media platforms including; television, gaming and music. It occurred to me that, perhaps subconsciously, I consume different mediums to enable different gratifications. For instance, I’ve already mentioned Social Media as a means of expressing Personal Identity, but I’d also say that my repeated use of gaming serves as a ‘Diversion’. In addition, my occasional browsing of The Mirror acts as ‘Surveillance’ whilst my regular Facetime calls enable one’s ‘Personal Relationships’.
In short then, McQuail’s theory of ‘Uses and Gratification’ is relevant across my media consumption in a variety of different ways.
Without trying to echo negative stereotypes, it is common that many others of my age will share a similar pattern of media usage and, as such, a mix of gratifications that come as a result. I can predict that, although McQuail’s categories are somewhat binary and restrictive, many other teenagers will consume music, television, gaming etc for the same reasons as myself.
Because of the simplistic nature of McQuail’s categorisations, they were further expanded upon some years later. Katz, Blumler and Gurevitch (1974) changed and added some connotations from McQuail’s initial ideas. Categories such as ‘Cognitive Needs’ and ‘Integrative Needs’ were added as a way of explaining ones media consumption. [Branston & Stafford, The Media Student’s Book 5th Ed.]
To reflect, then, it seems that my Media Log has been incredibly successful. I feel as though the results are an accurate representation of my consumption and I can be proud to say that I recorded the data as diligently as possible.
Despite stating in the first Blog Post that I would note any occurrences where I encountered any major advertising, I didn’t actually record any instances of this. If I were to do the study again, I would pay closer attention to advertising and consider it more carefully when collating my data at the end of the day.
[Metro 2018] – Matt Forde, Metro 09/02/2018
[Long & Wall, Media Studies] – Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context Pp 304-307
[Branston & Stafford, The Media Student’s Book 5th Ed.] – Pp388