Archive of ‘Media 6’ category
In this text, psychologist Howard Gardner suggests five types of minds that he believes we need to take on in order be successful in the future. Relating to mental attitudes opposed to skills and knowledge, the five minds he asserts are:
1. The disciplined mind – one that holds the ability to persist to attain a specific skill or certification
2. The synthesizing mind – one that makes connections between disparate pieces of information
3. The creating mind – one that comes up with new ideas and offers fresh outlooks towards things
4. The respectful mind – one that takes special consideration of others, welcomes human differences and tries to work effectively with all kinds of people
5. The ethical mind – one who is conscious of how their actions and work affects society
He then goes on to critique the education sector and its narrow focus on science and technology. Her primary argument is that if the education does not broaden its curriculum to encompass social sciences (such as arts, humanities, civics, ethics health and safety) then individuals will never be able to adopt the five mindsets that will enable them to succeed.
Upon initial thought, I was transported back to high school and the familiar phrase ‘when are we ever going to use this in life?’ entered my head. In some respects, this age-old question has some level of merit to it, as realistically we rarely revisit our high school science and maths unless we choose to go down that path. The formal education system is quite traditionalist in the sense that the curriculum has changed very little in the last 50 or so years in light of the fact that our society has changed in such drastic ways.
However, relating the text to my own experience I would have to disagree with the apparent exclusivity of formal education. At my high school, we were offered a range of social science subjects in addition to traditional science and technology-related knowledge. In terms of the respectful and ethical minds – which are more so associated with human relations – we also undertook workshops and activities that had the end goal of improving our social skills and ability to work with one another. While we never learnt to do our taxes and how to truly ‘adult’ as they say, I feel like I came away with a breadth of knowledge that has certainly helped me to acquire the five mindsets, or at least in getting a taste of each.
Overall, I saw the point that the author was making but I do feel as though there were some gaps in their discussion. Perhaps the education system is making progress, but still has a long way to go.
This reading poses some interesting questions and assertions about our relationship with time as a result of living in an acceleration society. By ‘acceleration society,’ the author implies the rapid rate in which technological advances are occurring and effectively changing the way we choose to allocate and utilise our time during both work and leisure.
It is interesting to acknowledge the fact that although digital technologies are essentially designed to save us time, they do not always have this effect. It’s as if these technologies place a greater expectation on workers to get more done in a day than what was once expected without said devices. In saying this, the fact that time is money induces the need for maximum efficiency and productivity within as little time as possible, which while this can potentially increase leisure time, it can also make us feel more pressured and rushed.
Further, the constant connectivity that these technologies enable makes it harder to (literally) switch off from work, which can interfere with our leisure time. Elaborating on this, Wajcman acknowledges how the abundance of ICTs affects our leisure in the sense that we are constantly renewing our devices, which requires a regular investment in new skill acquisition. She also highlights the fact that although new while modern autonomous technologies, such as driverless cars and smart kitchens, promote themselves as being time-saving and time-efficient devices, they will not necessarily solve our time-related problems.
This reading puts forward some interesting ideas in relation to the work/life balance. While it does not give us the answers, it certainly positions us to think about our time-related priorities and the pace of which we wish to live our lives.
In this text, Cal Newport presents an interesting angle on particular attitudes and approaches towards work. Specifically, he reveals the mindset that he believes workers in all fields must assume in order to build a compelling and satisfying career – that is, the ‘craftsman mindset.’
The craftsman mindset is based on the idea that your skills and output trumps all, and by focusing on these assets you will ultimately lead a happy and fulfilling career. Newport uses musician Jordan Tice as an example, as he is so focused on his craft and skill set that he remains incredibly humble and content with what he is doing. By focusing purely on his music in attempt to create the best result possible, he does not let questions of self-validity cloud his view. Newport also acknowledges the career and tact of comedian and actor Steve Martin, who worked at his stand-up act for a solid 10 years before achieving his eventual success. Newport uses Steve Martin’s quote ‘be so good they can’t ignore you’ to demonstrate the strength of the craftsman mindset in achieving your goals.
Conversely, Newport highlights the fact that although the ‘passion mindset’ is perhaps more commonly held, it is much more problematic. According to Newport, the passion mindset focuses on “what the world can offer” you, and is based on the premise that “people thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are – and connecting that to work that they truly love.” However, Newport asserts that when you focus purely on what your work offers you, you will effectively start to concentrate on the aspects you don’t like about it, which will lead to unhappiness. Further, workers with the passion mindset also deal with the struggle of attempting to answer life’s impossible questions, e.g. ‘who am I’ and ‘what do I truly love’. He suggests that the inability to answer these questions will lead to prolonged confusion and self-doubt.
Whilst I certainly understand the worth of focusing on your outcomes over life’s hindering questions, I feel as though passion still comes into the equation somewhere. At some level I tend to agree with the counterargument, that is, that pre-existing passion can fuel the craftsman mindset. Newport dismisses these arguments as he claims that performers like Jordan Tice and Steve Martin would have sourced their craftsman mindset from a more pragmatic standpoint, such as the need to get by and source an income. But my question is, why would people pursue such uncertain and precarious positions in the first place, if not for passion?
This reading outlines the issues surrounding media-related labour and the blurred lines between flexible working conditions and exploitation. This is immediately relevant for us as I found myself relating to a number of the issues raised, such as the pros and cons of extended low-paying or unpaid internships and the uncertainty of freelance media work. Safe to say this text has made me even more anxious about my future in this field and has positioned me to seriously consider extending my 2017 travel gap year by at least an extra year to further delay facing the harsh reality that is this industry.
Okay, let’s try to be positive here. The benefits of informal work do look good on paper, as indicated by Richard Flordia’s optimistic Rise of the Creative Class. Theoretically, through undertaking informal employment, you can work the hours that suit you and live an autonomous and liberated lifestyle. It is also relatively easy to start doing what you love in order to build your resume if you are prepared to do it for less than minimum wage or for free. In relation to my own life, I’m currently in this position with my recent creation of my own media production business, Elemdee Media. I’ve done some videography jobs for free and others for a small amount, and I’m flexible in the sense that I can edit videos from home and in my own time.
However, it is needless to say that informal employment in the media field has some serious downfalls. To name a few, there are no minimum wages, you run the risk of being exploited and you are usually either overworked or out of work entirely. Unpaid internships and months doing informal freelance jobs do not guarantee eventual job security or formal wages. If all this wasn’t enough, it is especially difficult for women to secure formal work in this field. Based on these facts, I tend to think Bakker’s description of this current state of as ‘digital sweatshops’ is sadly pretty accurate (2012). Additionally, the current nature of informal work also puts those in more formal 9-5 jobs in jeopardy as more and more unpaid ‘contributors’ may threaten the need for their full-time position all together.
Lobato and Thomas try to keep our pride intact by proposing some solutions for these issues faced by creative workers. They assert that in order for informal work to be ethical and fair, clear differentiation of intent needs to be identified (e.g. between unpaid internships with future career in mind and hobbies undertaken purely for self-satisfaction) and appropriate regulation needs to be put in place. In an ideal world, we need “the creation of regulatory systems that enable the most productive and rewarding kinds of formalities and informalities to coexist.” Easier said than done, but one can dream…
In this week’s text, Chris Lederer and Megan Brownlow outline some of the recent shifts in the Entertainment and Media (E&M) industry that, if utilised effectively, have the capacity to contribute to the continuing sustainable growth of the field. In this post, I will elaborate on two of the shifts they identified that were of particular interest and relevance to me.
One of the shifts mentioned was the role of youth as an increasingly influential demographic for the E&M industries. According to their research, there is an obvious correlation between markets with higher populations of youth and those with high E&M growth. This does not surprise me, as increasingly we see youth today adopting new technologies and platforms ahead of older generations. Not only are we quick to jump on the latest technological bandwagons, but we are also the generation of multi-taskers, with phenomenons of double- and even triple-screening becoming a daily habit. As youth today have growth up with the Internet and technological devices such as smart phones and tablets, they are inherently more responsive and open-minded to new technologies that might arise in the future. Marketing to this demographic is thus of vital importance to E&M companies not only due to the fact that they are bringing in more revenue, but also because they are ultimately the future of consumerism.
Lederer and Brownlow also claim that contrary to many contradicting opinions, “content is still king.” This is reassuring to us as media practitioners, as although new technologies and platforms create new and exciting ways of consuming media, they would not get far without the high quality content (which is where we come in) to distribute to consumers. For example, if Netflix had mind-numbingly awful content, people are not going to respond positively despite the convenience and affordability of the platform itself. Further, the section on tailoring universally appealing content for local markets is also an interesting concept to think about. When we think of greatly successful content, we often determine this by its international reach. But international reach is in fact more complex than what we might initially assume. Lederer and Brownlow highlight the benefits of “blending international reach and local focus.” This relates to shows that have begun in one country and are adopted and produced by another with their own national flare, e.g. talent shows, dating shows and even cooking shows. These programs are commonly successful as the style and format has already been tried and tested, and the localised focus helps to resonate more with domestic audiences.
This reading presented some relevant points that are helpful in understanding the areas to tap into in order to be successful in this constantly changing landscape. Although these opportunistic areas might be limited to the next 5-10 years, they certainly provide a good starting point.
After reading the selected excerpts of Klaus Schwab’s The Fourth Industrial Revolution, I felt a strange mixture of excitement and fear. There’s no questioning the fact that recent technological developments and future trends have and will drastically alter the state of the world that we live in, but whether it be for the better or worse in the long run is still up for debate.
Schwab begins by identifying the physical, digital and biological drivers and megatrends that have essentially crafted the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ It’s amazing to consider the fact that automated cars might become the norm, that we as humans might collaborate with robots on a regular basis, and that synthetic biology could repair injury and eliminate disease. Most relevant to the media industry is of course the growing phenomenon of digitisation. The Internet, for example, has reinvented the state of the economy, changed the nature of work and has provided individuals with a modern sense of community and an opportunity to make their voices heard. At surface value, these innovations are mind-blowing and have begun, and will likely continue to, benefit our economy and quality of life.
However, Schwab not only draws attention to the advantages of the revolution, but also the undeniable implications. One of the things that stood out for me was the inequalities that would be further exacerbated by the continued proliferation of digital technologies. Developing countries and social groups of a lower class might become further ostracised as they do not have the resources to gain access to such technologies and information. Additionally, those who are tech-savvy will inevitably have significant advantages over those who are not. It becomes the responsibility of the government to step in and improve accessibility, availability and education in order to overcome these issues – but this is easier said than done.
Further, the effects of the revolution on society’s behaviours and attitudes are also a cause for concern. Schwab identifies how synthetic biology may lead to the standardisation of designer babies. This immediately made me think of the film Gatacca (1997), a sci-fi drama in which individual’s capabilities are determined strictly by their genetic makeup. While at the time of its release the concept was unimaginable, after reading this text, it doesn’t even seem that far-fetched. The fact that science fiction could become a reality is slightly terrifying to say the least. Schwab also highlights how the increased use of digital devices might lead to a decline in face-to-face sociability and the ability to feel empathy. Sadly, I feel as though we are already headed in this direction as our digital devices have essentially become an extension of our bodies and identities. The internet and social media has altered our lifestyle so much in such a short span of time that I’m kind of scared to see where it takes us next.
This text was certainly eye opening and positioned me to discover that I have a lot of mixed feelings towards the subjects covered. Innovation and enterprise are of course essential to our economy moving forward, but that’s not to say they don’t come without their complications.