I found myself spending much of this semester procrastinating through watching television. Through reflection on this procrastination I found myself questioning the kind of television I was watching, why I was watching it and dissecting various program elements. The other main reason I found myself watching television was for social reasons. Through rituals, traditions and routines television has become a part of the social order of our everyday lives (Silverstone. R, 2003. pp.18).
From completing my time use diary on the television I have been watching this semester I noticed a few patterns arise. I have very clear routines, rituals and traditions when it comes to what I’m watching.
For example, if I am playing catch up on a television series (e.g. Pretty Little Liars), I often watch it alone in my room before bed and this becomes a ritual. Always watched on a computer and streamed very legally from the internet.
I watch parts of television shows such as The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Faloon on transport on my mobile device. This kind of viewing for me is always light and it is clearly segmented perfectly for advertisements. This segmentation allows me to watch snippets without feeling like I’m missing out as each section (or segment) is separated into specific parts similar to chapters in a book (Gros, P 2012). When I am with my family I often have television on yet I watch very little of it and it acts as a background noise.
The main pattern I wanted to draw on was the restrictions of (or lack of) scheduling. I found myself noticing a change in the way not only I watch but the way people around me watch. With the glorious invention of play back TV this notion of control through scheduling has slowly been compromised. Scheduling is essentially the editing process of ordering programs but on a larger scale. It is the editing of a continuous flow of television ranging from morning to night, week to week, year to year (Ellis, J. 2000 .pp.25).
Television scheduling created my tradition of watching The Bachelor but play back TV broke my routine. I watch with friends on free to air television. This becomes a tradition. It begun with the bachelor, a group of friends catching up and then it became a tradition to gather an watch all of the episodes together.
At the end of a season you often find yourself with a free time slot wondering what to do in the time you usually watch your program. Through clever scheduling we were stuck right into the next season of The Bachelorette which clever;y followed from the Bachelor time slot.
We comment and make judgements on the contestants, we have favourites and make predictions on who will win or lose. This is where television has become very social. There are times though when we couldn’t meet up and I would end up watching it alone on play back television. Other times we would binge watch a few episodes on one night.
One aspect that is always prominent through watching The Bachelor whether I’m alone or with friends, is that there is always use of second screens. By second screen I’m referring to the use of another device (second screen) that is used to compliment the program that is watched on the TV (the first screen) (Hare, B. 2015.). When watching The Bachelor, I am able to look up information about the contestants, watch live tweets from other people watching, make comments and read Facebook post.
At the beginning of this task I had never considered the extent to which television was a social element of my life. The only time I really watch television is either with friends or to catch up on a show that I can then later talk about with friends. Television really has formed much of my everyday life through the social appeal.
Silverstone, R 2003, Television and Everyday Life, Routledge, London. Pp.18-27, 159-
Ellis, J. (2000). Scheduling: the last creative act in television?. Media, Culture & Society, 22(1), pp.25-38.
Hare, B. (2015). Twice as much TV? How networks are adapting to the second screen – CNN.com. [online] CNN. Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/15/showbiz/tv/second-screen-tv-our-mobile-society/index.html [Accessed 25 Oct. 2015].
Gros, P 2012, “About TV stream and macro segmentation”, Kompatsiaris, Y, Merialdo, Y & Lian, S (ed.) TV Content Analysis: Techniques and Applications, 1st edn, CRC Press, MA, pp.184 – 187.