Does Texting Lead to Miscommunication in Relationships?

While texting has positively affected communication channels, safety and accessibility to one another; has it also become a reliable form of relationship building? Is this a good or a bad thing? Has this media taken the intimacy out of relationships?

For my BCM240 final project, I conducted an ethnographical study that aimed to uncover the truth about texting in relationships, and whether texting led to miscommunication. I chose to make a short interview style video, featuring people of different relationship stages and ages to get a true grasp on how they felt about texting, and whether or not this was the preferred form of communication.

I chose to include my talents speaking and to show their faces to further convey the argument; that emotions and facial expressions truly send the message. I aimed to layer both positive and negative opinions of text messaging in relationships in the video.

Finding talents proved to be slightly difficult, as not many were willing to open up about their personal relationships and communication approaches; hence why two participants were family members. This was an advantage to me, as trust was already gained and established, therefore there was no need for conversation or ‘scene-setting’ before hand. With my other talent however, I needed her to know exactly what was going on and how the video would be depicted; thus, we spoke about the topic prior to recording and I shared my thoughts and opinions with her as well, allowing for an ethical and collaborative ethnography.

70% of the people surveyed for this project said they text their partner ‘all day every day.’ Many of those who took part in this small-scale research project were Gen-Y’s; so having grown up with texting, it naturally became a reliable source of communication for them. While many participants were young (under 25) and not married, thus not seeing their partner everyday, this resulted in many more texts sent throughout the day to keep in contact.

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My survey revealed that 95% of people have had a fight through text, and when asked individually as to why this was the case, many responded by saying that it was often the case of miscommunication.

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This research project was based off research already conducted about the use of texting and mobile phones in romantic relationships. One article written on the topic is ‘Using Technology to Connect in Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attachment, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability in Emerging Adults’ by Lori Cluff Schade , Jonathan Sandberg , Roy Bean , Dean Busby and Sarah Coyne. One aspect that stood out to me and that led to form the basis of my research was, ‘the use of texting with cell phones can increase intimacy by making partners more available and expanding their repertoire of connection (Henline, 2006).’ Does texting your partner truly allow the relationship to become more intimate? Or do we solely rely on using our thumbs to communicate, and think that is enough? Many respondents believe that face-to-face communication is still the preferred form, and will never take over texting. However a large portion of participants agreed that a mix between the two is what keeps a relationship together in our contemporary society.

In an article written by Christine Murray and Emily Campbell, they undergo research into the way technology is used by couples and how it affects the relationship. “Couples have the opportunity to stay connected in a way they never have had before.” I aimed to explore this issue more and ask the why and how question and even challenge this idea through exploring whether texting actually leads to miscommunication.

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Has the digital world and accessibility to social media and instant messaging taken the place of real life communication and relationships? My aim was to find out. Generally, younger relationships that have grown up with mobile phones and social media at their fingertips form and base their relationships (at least the communication aspect) on the convenience of text messaging. It is easy to hide behind a computer screen or mobile phone to get a message across, but when it comes to real face-to-face communication, often sharing thoughts and feelings is much harder. These spaces therefore change and are adapted depending on the person to whom we are communicating to.

For relationships, such as marriages, which were formed without text messaging, mobile phones and social media even existing; face-to-face communication is much easier, faster, convenient and preferred. Access to media and the many technological advances are only advantages, and seen as another way to communicate when they are not with their partner. However, due to this and individuals knowing how their partner communicates in person, can lead to a miscommunication through text messaging. Abbreviations and the use of emojis as silly as it may sound, if used the wrong way or if auto-correct steps in, assumptions and accusations can be made, leading to potential arguments. ‘Mobile messaging is the modern way to communicate. It’s instant, location independent, and personal. That’s why the new mobile phone generation has started to favour messaging, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the mobile communications industry’ (Nokia, 2002).

Text messaging therefore seems to provide an opportunity for intimate personal contact whilst at the same time offering the detachment necessary to manage self-presentation and involvement. (Donna and Fraser Reid, 2004)

Overall, this experience taught me that text messaging has both negative and positive effects on an intimate relationship. While communication can be more constant and accessible thanks to text messaging, it can also prove to cause miscommunication and even superficiality within these relationships.

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Texting in Relationships – Does it lead to better communication or miscommunication?

Today, I am sharing my proposal for my #BCM240 digital media project.

I am aiming to evaluate the effectiveness of texting in relationships, and whether or not it truly assists in the communication process. My research will be inducted via interview – This in relationships ranging from new and young partners, to those who are married, engaged, divorced and adults with new partners. My results will be presented in video form, and will include a ‘voxpop’ style of my tenets responses. I will also include an infograph of the results and share this right here on my blog.

Questions I will be asking my interviewees:

How often do you text your partner?

Do you show affection through texting?

Have you ever had a fight through texting?

Has texting ever led to miscommunication?

Do you believe your partner is different through texting, compared to when you are together in real life?

Have you ever gotten mad or annoyed that you partner hasn’t text you, and the day is almost over?

This research is based on research already conducted by Joshua R. Novak , Jonathan G. Sandberg , Aaron J. Jeffrey , Stephanie Young-Davis in their article The Impact of Texting on Perceptions of Face-to-Face Communication in Couples in Different Relationship Stages; as well as research conducted by Christine E. Murray , Emily C. Campbell in The Pleasures and Perils of Technology in Intimate Relationships.

Media: Mobile phones (texting)

Audience: People in relationships.

Place: real life communication vs communication through cyber space.

To Write, is to Inspire. To Blog, is to Create.

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Why blog? There are oh so many reasons why I love to blog, and would recommend it anyone and everyone.

“While there are many articles written about why you should blog to grow your business or become an expert or make a whole bunch of money—the best recommendations are still found in the personal realization that blogging changes you, the writer.” – Joshua Becker

In reflecting upon my blogging experience for #BCM240 this semester I have learnt many things including: connecting with and attracting readers; blog design as a whole including producing a blog that is easy and efficient to navigate; tweeting to promote my own blog and others, as well as engaging with fellow students about media and space; and producing a curated online environment which prompts discussion and debate.

I aimed to attract readers by using the BCM240 hashtag on social media sites, which led people to easily find my blog in the course. This hashtag on twitter also allowed me to visit other peoples’ blogs, and therefore get inspiration and ideas through what others have written and articles they have linked to.

Using categories and tags on the WordPress site itself also allowed other readers of the public to find my blog through information that is relevant to the tag they are searching. Also tagging things such as #multitasking and #mediaspace on twitter attracted readers outside of BCM240 which was a pleasant surprise. One follower tweeted me a podcast that was relevant to attention spans, that I then later included in my blog post to further enhance the information I was providing.

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On my blog itself, I including a ‘recent comments’ section in the footer, which allows readers to view other posts which I have liked, followed or commented on; adding to the overall picture of what I want my blog to portray, and what it says about me as a person.

In relation to my theme, I wanted to keep it simple, yet adding a contrast of the bright ocean (an image from New Caledonia I took myself) as I feel not only does it make the design visually appealing and not cluttered, it also says a lot about myself. I love the water, travel and re-connecting with myself and the world around me; I always have, so that was important to me in communicating my personality.

This blogging experience, as well as the many articles which we were provided with in the course, allowed me to learn more about this online environment. When reading other peers’ blogs, the use of images, large fonts, quotes and links truly strengthens the piece. I believe the shorter the blog, the more interesting and attention grabbing it is. A long, essay like blog isn’t what I’m personally attracted to so I tried to sharpen my work and condense it as much as possible from the last assignment, so as to communicate to a larger audience.

Ferdig and Trammel noted four distinct learning advantages for blogging: the use of blogs helps students become subject-matter experts, increases student interest and ownership in learning, gives students legitimate chances to participate, and provides opportunities for diverse perspectives both inside and out of the classroom.

Much of the research and methodology I used were articles recommended in the lectures, however I also used other sources found through Google scholar and on Blergh.org.

A few ethnographic interviews were also conducted adding a primary research element, which I think enhanced my blog. In the future, I think I would try to find more articles to include, and even conduct more of my own primary research as I found this methodology was most effective. Being able to speak to my parents about their experiences with television, the internet and media, added depth and further insight into media, audience and place.

In attempt to make my blog a more curated environment, I tried to engage my readers in further conversation by asking questions throughout the post. I also linked to other students’ blogs in order to convey a collaborative effort. These connections with readers and other bloggers/students will hopefully continue on throughout my life, as they gave me great insights into thoughts of media, place and audience. 

From this experience I have learnt that posting frequently, and continually engaging in followers is important between blog posts in order to keep your audience interested – this I only learnt right at the end, and my twitter favourites, comments, views and likes on blog posts increased. I also learnt that conducting research is so important and adds so much depth to a post, something I wish I used more. Time management and resources were lacking in this department, as I regret not doing the week 6 blog ‘Public televisions and personal devices’ even though I found this the most interesting subject of them all. Unified in Social Media, But Segregated in Reality was one of my favourite posts from that week, and a blog in which I engaged with frequently.

I am very thankful that blogging was apart of this course, not only because it is enjoyable, informative and I got to engage with new and exciting people; It has also created a curated online environment in which I can show future employees my writing skills, and how I connect with other people. A job add for a large company I came across, also includes that personal blog management is required/preferred. This further clarifies the importance of producing a curated environment.

An article I found online, that has inspired me to write not only throughout this experience, but also in everyday life, is by a blogger herself. Victoria Michelson explains that blogging and the conversations that it created, increased her job opportunities.  The article talks about the benefits of blogging, and how important having an online audience/presence is.

“The aim of any blog, no matter how big or small, is to create conversation.” – Michelson

I hope that I will continue to blog on this site, as well as creating a secondary more personal blog as I believe having an online presence definitely gets you out there and teaches you so many new things. James R. Baker and Susan M. Moore believe ” blogging has beneficial effects on well-being, specifically in terms of perceived social support.” I am thankful that BCM240 has taught me many things about the online, media world, and just how important staying connected with others is in today’s society.

Who needs attention spans when we can multitask (and do a pretty good job at it) !?

Does multitasking mean our attention span is low? Or can we have full attention on all things we are doing?

Research conducted by Faria Sana, Tina Weston, and Melody Wiseheart, concluded that having a laptop open in a university lecture hinders academic performance. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, although I can admit I am often guilty of having a number of un-related tabs open during a lecture, especially if I am not finding it engaging or important. Many students however, also use their laptop to take notes, Google mentioned ideas for clarification and to have their lecture slides and/or readings open in front of them. Many students who use their laptops are actually using it for a purpose, whether it is that taking notes is faster than taking them in a notepad. However our attention spans can be sacrificed.

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In a very small-scale research task, fellow BCM students Amelia and Jessica sat down in hope to measure each other’s attention spans. This didn’t go too well seeing as though we all had our laptops open, we were all munching on food, checking our phones and discussing very serious life issues (such as boys, the gym and food.) both sequential screening (move between devices) and simultaneous screening (using multiple devises at the same time) was evident. Although at first, the experiment was only between Jessica and Amelia, and I was merely third-wheeling, I couldn’t help but observe the process. I think I heard the words “Okay lets start” and “No seriously, let’s start the work,” about 78 times??? In their minds, they hadn’t began the exercise, however I had began my research long before, mwahaha! Lets just say, attention spans were not thaaaaat great.

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In ‘Attention Spans Report’ by microsoft Canada, it concludes that while the digital age has an effect on attention span length, being able to focus on an array of tasks has increased.

“tech savvy consumers are actually getting better at processing information and encoding that information to memory.”

I couldn’t agree with this more. In relation to the small-scale ethnography research conducted last Wednesday, while attention on one sole thing may be deteriorating, just like Jessica and Amelia couldn’t stay focus on any one thing (whether that be looking up fitness prgrams, texting, the assignment or having Facebook arguments.) However, attention to detail and precision has increased due to the fact that our tech-savvy generation is able to think actively and respond to many audiences and places at once. Take for instance, right this moment I am not only trying to write this blog post, I am also tidying my room, I have 13 tabs open, I am replying to text messages on my phone AND thinking about what to cook for dinner; yet I will still get this task done, and hopefully done well, before the assignment deadline.

Growing up in this modern day society is a crazy, crazy thing, yet it’s also so exciting and actually very efficient when you really think about it 😉

Is the movie theatre a waste of time and space?

I love going to the movies, not only to watch an exciting new movie on the big screen, but also as a night/day out to experience something new and eat lots of popcorn with people I love.

I remember when I was young, being taken to the movies every single school holidays by my dad along with my three best friends where we would first eat Maccas, watch the latest movie together, have some cinema treats and then have a sleepover afterwards… this is one of my fondest memories about going to the movie cinema and one that I will always associate with this space.

Today, my family and I still go occasionally however I go on a more regular basis with my boyfriend. We love it. It is a chance for us to leave our usual space and do something together. I know a cinema isn’t really a place for talking or catching up, which is why I wouldn’t really recommend it for a first date, however being in someone else’s company and experiencing the same thoughts the film gives you is a great feeling. We laugh and cry at the same time, and I think that is something that can bring people closer together.

Last Saturday night I actually visited the movies with my Mum and younger sister. Dad was away and my other sister Abbie was at a party, so we had a bit of a girls night out. We went to United Cinemas Narellan, and we sat in the recliner chairs which is always a treat. I sat between the two and we all brought an extra jacket simply to put over our legs to keep warm during the movie. We watched the new movie staring Meryl Streep (I forget the name – oops!) The movie itself wasn’t too bad, however I would have never picked to see it myself. The fact that I got to spend time with my family and share an experiences together was the best part. Being invited to the movies, with a physical lift and free ticket allowed me to easily accept the offer and make the trip – fitting into Hagerstrand’s theory constraint, the first being capability. I was physically able to go to the movies, with no other plans and easy access.

Due to the fact that my mum invited me, and were going together, allowed for the theory of coupling to come into play. Once again it was an easy decision, and an easy venture to the cinema. I didn’t plan to go, so I didn’t need to ask people myself, the offer was right in front of – who can turn down popcorn and choc-top anyway!?

Being that we watched a ‘grown-up’ movie late at night, there wasn’t any children which is always a positive! No annoying laughs, or people on there phone. It was actually a pleasant experience… well up until I had to pee! Probably my biggest pet peeve about going to the movies is having to go to the bathroom after sculling your coke, and needing to squeeze past everyone and miss part of the movie. Either that or you miserably hold it for as long as you can, uncomfortable and unable to even concentrate on the movie. These are the moments where I truly cherish my pause button on the foxtel remote (and the fact that I don’t have to say excuse me to every second person on the way out.)

Foxtel, Netflix and technology in general I belive has had a major affect on conema attendance, and will probably continue to affect its popularity in the future. I honestly believe though that cinema going will never go out of fashion or get too boring. I love it and so does everyone else I know, so I think the excitement of going to the movies will never die.

What do you think?

Em x

Thanks For Collaborating With Me Mum!

Last week I interviewed my Mum, Cherie about her experiences with watching television as she was growing up. I had the opportunity to gain insights into her favourite TV shows, her most admirable characters, where she sat, who she watched TV with and how it made her feel. As a research technique, this can be seen as a form of collaborative ethnography.

Ethnography simply means an insider’s view into people and cultures. Using the research conducted for my last blog post, Cherie was the insider and we as the audience were able to grasp a sense of what television was like growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. Ethnography is Collaborative and reciprocal, meaning that a shared and almost conversational form of research is conducted, where both the researcher/interviewer and the talent or ‘insider’ are engaged.

I wanted to find out how Cherie felt about the experience, and if she thought this style of research was successful. Obviously it being my mother, a collaborative situation was inevitable to begin with. “It wasn’t like a typical interview where you were after facts and statistics, you were asking personal questions about the space, how the TV made me feel, what shows I liked to watch a why – it was like I was reminiscing my childhood with an old friend.”

In Eric Lasseter’s report “Defining Collaborative Ethnography”, he describes collaborative ethnography by – ‘It invites commentary from our consultants and seeks to make that commentary overtly part of the ethnographic text as it develops.’ When comparing this with the ‘study’ I did into my mum’s television experiences, this can be true. Why and how were prominent in the evaluation process.

In contrast, a research paper conducted by Oztam Australian Multi Screen Report’, was a very quantitative analysis. Its findings revealed facts like ‘22.158 million Australians watched at least some broadcast television each month during Q1 2015.’ However it failed to ask what TV shows people watched; or why they watched TV; why they watched the particular show for; how did it make them feel; where they watched television; or if it affected their everyday life in one way or another. There was no reciprocation or collaborative discussion. Only facts. How much can purely facts a statistics truly tell us?

Lasseter uses personal encounters and previous experiences to articulate the importance or collaborative ethnography and how it can be used to study the media in homes. Not only does this type of research allow for first-hand information that rewards the ‘interviewer’, it also can be rewarding for the participant. This may be through re-living exciting moments, or being able to share a story that may teach a lesson or inspire somebody else. ‘I recognize, of course, that these ethnographic projects are limited in their experience and scope, but each venture has taught me something new about realizing a more collaborative ethnography.’

For my last blog post, Cherie expressed to me that her favourite TV character of all time was Samantha from bewitched and that everything about her from the way she dressed to how she spoke inspired my Mum and made her want to be just like her. This type of information could never have been gained through standard quantitative research. We may have been able to conclude that a number of people watched bewitched or remembered watching it growing up, but we could have never understood how it made people in this era feel towards the show, or towards television and television watching in the home in general.

Em x