Social Media On Focussed Attention (Week 10)

This week Sam, Jack and I met up to discuss our Project Brief 4. We chose our research question to be ‘what is the association between the rise of social media and students’ focussed attention?’ Our audio project will be based around four key ideas:

1. Our constant access to social technology affects the ability to commit to high levels of attention on one task. This will be more of an introduction, specifying that technological distractions inhibit our ability to pay attention to important tasks like driving and class work.

2. The misconception of multitasking and its effects – how multitasking is viewed as a positive trait by some and as inefficient by others.

3. It’s not the fault of the students. Here we will focus on habitual distraction, and how it’s only a result of our instincts to reach out for our phone while studying. It’s an unintentional action that feels normal because we have been exposed to digital technology our entire lives.

4. What is the impact of a shortened attention span? A look at the implications of what happens when your focus shifts away from something that requires all of your attention.

We considered recording and editing our project into a report-like format, but then realised that while this would make our project informative, it would lack our sense of creativity and the abstract nature we are aiming for. Thus our project will take on more of a podcast vibe. We will be using a script but trying to make the narration seem natural and improvised.

A Podcast Story (Week 10)

‘My Lobotomy’: Howard Dully’s Journey (2005)
‘My Lobotomy’ is so engaging. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t be distracted from it by any external noise. The things I picked up from it were that very clear audio is used for the narration; the series of interviews are cut very short, so that they tell Howard Dully’s story in place of the narration; all the voices in the podcast are the same if not similar volume level. There was no need for me to increase or decrease my headphone volume at any point, even though I could recognise that some interviews were recorded at a further distance away than others. I liked that we were introduced to Dully’s lobotomy doctor by him voicing his ideas on lobotomies. It wasn’t just him talking about anything medical-related, and I could just picture him in surgeon’s scrubs performing the lobotomy. There is no background noise in interviews that overshadows the interviewees. I found this was important because in the past I have had difficulty controlling the level of background noise in interviews and can be really distracting. The podcast transitions at certain places by overlapping voices of subjects interviewed. We listeners are provided with short ‘intermissions’ at points, with only music playing and no narration. They’re short moments really, but they allow us to take in everything that’s been said. I also noted that music from the 40′
s was used to link the podcast to an event described from the 40’s. This is more of a creative strategy I noticed but I think that we could also do this in our project brief 4 for greater immersion and empathy (for example, if we were to talk about being raised in a digital age with internet – we may want to use 90’s or 00’s/more modern music to help us ‘set the scene’). I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast and will keep the creative and technical choices that were made in mind for when I too produce this type of work.

Listening Over Watching (Week 10)


How to write in time:

  • set times for your listeners to breathe, take everything in, then allow more intense moments concentrated with content
  • no abrupt endings, craft a sense of finality
  • in the moment pieces are more powerful than reflection ones

How to create space:

  • hear distance in sound through background and foreground sounds)
  • feels like presenters are speaking directly to you personally; modes of address position listeners in the space

The use of music:

  • using diegetic and non-diegetic music to lift the voice
  • a structuring device to break the content up into chunks
  • like a highlighter – the words said before and after or during jump out at listeners
  • cultural associations of your music, can play with this baggage
  • include spot sounds
  • using non verbal and non musical sounds

Story types:

  • never numbers
  • audio is best for stories that there are no images for, forces the listeners to imagine

Examples of voice, sound and music:

  • scripted narration (read voice in studio)
  • watch ticking recorded in studio — ends when mentions it ‘stop[ping]’
  • pre recorded music  — overlaid to set the scene
  • radio hush
  • archival — sets era
  • interview (q/a)
  • observational background chatter
  • atmospheric sounds; papers shuffling, stamping