Blog Post

MELP report

in my first blog post, i mentioned about the Media of Everyday Life Projects that my students were doing. on the last day before Thanksgiving holiday, the students presented their project. i was actually amazed by the findings that the MELP groups presented. they really put their best effort for the project.

two groups stood out for me in particular. the first one is the group that examined the culture of movie-going among college students. one of the most interesting finding by this group is the contradictory statement from their research participants that moviegoing is a social activity for them. why is this contradictory? because, as the group finds out, most of the participants like to watch movie in the theater alone. i think this is interesting since it brings up question about what conception of the social that the participants had in mind when they say that moviegoing is a social activity. is it so that they can socialize with strangers/find new friends? but watching movie in a theater, in my opinion, does not really give a space for social interaction with strangers.  

the second MELP group that presented an interesting finding is the one that explored the notion of friendship on facebook. this group did an ethnographic project on how college students perceive the conception of friendship on facebook. and of course, as other more sophisticated researchs have found, this group perceives different conception of friendship on facebook than that in real life. but, one particular phenomenon of "de-friending" on facebook that they find really gets my attention. the group finds that the act of de-friending is not so much to cut one's friends from one's (facebook) life as to hide from them, so that the others cannot see what one is doing on facebook. this finding goes against the New York Times article that i read a while ago about how easy people "un-friend" their friends on facebook because they find these friends "not cool" anymore. i guess, the group's finding has shown that there are complex layers that build friendship on facebook. granted this also happens in real life. but, with social media like facebook the complexity gets intermingled with the affordances of the medium.

i guess that's all for now. next, i will post about my research that i will do in my country (Indonesia) from December to January next year.   


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