The Breakfast of Champions – Needing a Feeding Contextual Report

Needing a Feeding is a cooking Tik Tok account I created to satisfy my love of food and interest in nutrition. My content is aimed at a student audience that might have limited cooking experience, equipment and ingredients but still want to make tasty nutritious dishes. The idea originally started back in 2019 as an Instagram, and has now developed into a Tik Tok, allowing me to better reach my audience demographic with short form content. With the benefit of the For You Page on Tik Tok I am able to expand my account reach further than previously demonstrated with Instagram. 

By taking advantage of the prototype stage of my DA, as demonstrated by Plattner I was able to “test possibilities” by trying new content forms and styles, “fail quickly and cheaply” by testing unsuccessful techniques that had no monetary impact as I film whatever food I am making on my iPhone and “communicate” by experimenting with best methods to reach the needs of my audience. 

Utility

I decided to make Needing a Feeding as I knew there was a need for a cooking content specifically aimed at a student aged audience (because which uni student has crème fraîche or a cooking thermometer…). Based on my research it’s clear that my target audience wants to cook more with 71% of Gen Z saying they “would love to learn how to cook more.” Yet they also are not going to whip out a cookbook or their computer, with 59% of millennials using their smartphone in the kitchen. So instead students are turning to short form content to get ideas, inspirations and tips when it comes to their next dish. This is why I chose to make a cooking Tik Tok that is specifically catered towards students’ needs, as the recipes are considerate to a lack of equipment, minimal cooking experience, cheap ingredients and a short time frame. I thought this would be useful to students as traditional cooking content is typically aged at an older audience, while Needing a Feeding is realistic to students’ needs.

Production Method

Recipe ideas list

My process has turned into a well oiled machine, which has cut down on the time it takes to produce a Tik Tok. This was based on the FIST principle, as in previous semesters my cooking videos were timely and complicated, meaning I produced less content in more time. 

Firstly I establish a recipe I would like to make – this can come from my recipe list that is based on food ideas I’ve seen trending and what I think would fit my DA’s utility or simply what I’m having for lunch. Typically I will already have a Tik Tok audio in mind that I would like to use, which also gives me an indication of the video length which ranges from 10-60 seconds, and how quick the shots should be. From there I set my tripod up on the bench and clip in my phone, taking a few short clips as I cook. Then I edit the footage directly on my phone using the app VLLO, which then gets published to TikTok. This process usually occurs 2-3 times per week, so I save my Tik Toks to drafts and upload them during the week.

Production set-up

Phase one – False sense of security

Views comparison from 720 to 140

When initially posting to my Tik Tok I faced an occurrence that many other accounts do, the automatic “boost” in views from the recommendation algorithm in your first few videos. But what goes up must come down, and in my case this meant a quick drop in views. Dealing with this right off the bat enabled me to “fail early, fail often”, so I was able to compare the analytics and video content to determine why this was occurring. Regardless of the similarities in content style, if it’s not being well received “don’t spend too long on one prototype… let go before you find yourself getting too emotionally attached” – as stated by Plattner. This meant I had to stop seeking to replicate my initially successful videos, and instead continue with my experimentation process. 

Initial video style that received more engagement vs more recent video style that received 1/4 of the engagement

From this initial experience I learnt that there was a need for cooking content, as demonstrated by the success of the first videos, but the form it takes is crucial to connect with my target audience. Content simply being “short-form” is not enough to retain viewers’ attention, and if I want to make content specific to a student audience then the form/style of the video needs to demonstrate this social utility. 

@needing.a.feeding

Lil donut balls – made from oats, yoghurt and protein powder #tutorials #recipe #fyp

♬ Don’t Need You (Remix) – Genesis Owusu

Phase two – Seminar success

My DA’s feedback was based on Tik Tok analytics, as I rarely got constructive comments, so seeking feedback in the class seminar gave me important information to experiment with. Useful feedback I received was ways to repurpose content, which came in the form of Tik Toks that collated my videos togethers for a common purpose, such as “eggs 5 ways” or “frozen berry dish ideas”. The Simplicity Cycle Manifesto states “We introduce new elements to the things we make, and these elements make the thing better.” So introducing different styles of content (such as collated food ideas) that still works towards my original purpose of producing content to help a younger audience.

By comparing the analytics of a traditional cooking video vs a collated cooking video, the collated cooking video marginally performs better, but more importantly it allowed me to demonstrate the FIST principal. 

Fast – No filming time meaning I could jump straight into editing

Inexpensive – Did not require me to make any extra food, saving on produce costs

Simple – Reused old footage to edit together a video the consisted of 5 clips

Tiny – The Tik Toks were short form, meaning they were under 15 seconds.

This process allowed me to alter my design thinking, based on the fourth “golden rule” which is quantity over quality.  Producing content rapidly is important to understand what is successful and what is not, so without having to put in an extra amount of time or effort I could produce new content and examine its result. 

My original goal with creating this sort of content was to increase the watch time of my Tik Toks, in order to compete with the “attention allocation” that is a part of our supernormal stimuli. Yet instead an unexpected result was the “video views by region” strayed from my regular videos which consisted of a high saturation of views coming from Australia, instead the majority of the views were from outside of Australia.

“When things go out of whack we can see something new and strange; and that is when we learn something.”

Franklin Spinney 2019

The performance of the collated food ideas videos indicated that my student audience had less of an eye for detail for thorough explanations and methods, and instead wanted quick and simple ideas to inspire what they are going to cook next, allowing them to alter the content how they please.

Phase Three – Start thinking creatively

Another helpful piece of feedback I received in my peer review and within my class seminar is to start experimenting with video transitions. Not only are video transitions a great way to engage your audience, but also offer a solution to shortening the length of your video without cutting back on the quality of it. This was based off the aim to create a fast OODA loop.

Observe – Shortening attention spans and increase in content consumption online.

Orient – Tik Tok views require engaging content on the For You Page in order to maintain their focus which includes visual effects such as transitions.

Decide – Create Tik Toks that feature transitions between clips in order to shorten the video length.

Act – Create videos such as the Tzatziki, oat protein balls and chia seed pudding which all feature transitions.

@needing.a.feeding

Quick little tzatziki recipe 🥒 all you need is a small cucumber, 1 cup Greek yoghurt, garlic and I used Tuscan seasoning #recipe #healthycooking

♬ Tainted Love – Soft Cell
Tzatziki video analytics

My first attempt at making a video with transitions had nearly a quarter of the viewers watch the entire video which typically doesn’t break over 10%. Although it didn’t reach a larger audience than my previous videos, it did receive around double the engagement than my videos previously did and with half the time. 

@needing.a.feeding

If you haven’t tried eating Brie/Camembert cheese on a cracker with a drizzle of honey and slice of fruit… get on it 🍯 #cooking #cheese #satisfying

♬ rises the moon – liana flores
Cheese plater video analytics

To test against this theory that videos get more views if they’re short and snappy, I posted a 54 second Tik Tok a few days later which unlike the Tzatziki video, was quite slow and calm but still featured lots of cuts. To my surprise this video performed better, reaching a larger audience, gaining more interaction and having a watch time of 21 seconds, which is actually higher than many of my videos that are 20-30 seconds long.

So what did I do with this information? Well thinking back to “attention allocation” encouraged me to look at how Tik Toks and Reels hold our attention. Which caused me to find this quote from Philipp Lorenz-Spreen of Max Planck Institute for Human Development, “Content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more regularly. Hence, these platforms have created this format that precisely fits this time frame. On Instagram reels, you can scroll through millions of 10-15 seconds long videos effortlessly.”

So maybe I was thinking about it the wrong way, instead of focusing on the video length, I should utilise the platform to feed consumers’ need for “newness”. If the viewer feels like they know where the video is going or isn’t being presented with a new idea every 8 or so seconds they are simply going to keep scrolling (which explains why my watch time also sits around this area). This means my content needs to jump in stages that will surprise the viewer, as there is a reason they are consuming cooking content through Tik Tok over reading through a recipe.

Phase Four – The breakfast of champions

After reaching this conclusion in my third phase, I wanted to figure out how I could improve my previous OODA loop. Which brought me back to the simplicity cycle, and how I needed to “integrate existing elements and remove the unnecessary ones”, so what was unnecessary in my videos? Marshall McLuhan said “In the name of progress, our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.” So instead of turning to cook books, younger students are turning to social media for cooking content, but that also means this content needs to adapt to the medium.

By keeping this in mind I considered how I could incorporate shortening attention spans whilst improving the traditional medium of a cookbook. Users seek instant gratification from social media usage, therefore my content needed to fill that instinct. Something cooking books focus heavily on is the method, but what if I simply removed that whilst still demonstrating how the dish could be made. 

This TikTok still works towards my social utility of being aimed at students that are time poor, with limited cooking experience, minimal equipment and at a low cost, but it jumps straight to the point. Therefore adapting to the new media, whilst still containing the content of the traditional medium. 

@needing.a.feeding

Cookie dough protein balls 🍪 add a few splashes of almond milk and mix that baby together, then just refrigerate for a couple hours #healthysnacks

♬ babyqirl. – nick
Protein ball video analytics

This TikTok turned into my most successful on my account with over 800 views, surpassing my original “boosted” videos. I was very pleased with the response to the video, as it was only 12 seconds long and took minimal time to make. When utilising transitions over demonstrating the method, I also saved a lot of time filming. From this I learnt about how my target audience best consumes content and our ability to infer information as I had no comments asking how to “make” the recipe. 

Over the course of this Tik Tok DA I have really enjoyed making content, so producing work became much easier. My DA is something that I love to show people and I am proud of, and even stuck out to my boss when she was hiring me at my current job in marketing. When producing content I’ve come to learn the importance of understanding why your content performs the way it does, and sometimes that just comes down to breaking down every step you’ve taken and the reaction it’s received. 

Thanks for tuning into Needing a Feeding. 

References:

Apaolaza, V., Hartmann, P. & Lopez, C. (2017) “Gratifications on Social Networking Sites: The Role of Secondary School Students’ Individual Differences in Loneliness”, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Bilbao, Spain, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0735633117743917 

Cooper, J (2015) “Cooking trends among millennials: Welcome to the digital kitchen” Think with Google, US, June 2015, https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/future-of-marketing/digital-transformation/cooking-trends-among-millennials/ 

DFA (2019) “GEN Z EATING HABITS & FOOD TRENDS: HOW DO THEY LIKE TO EAT?” Dairy Farmers of America, Ingredient Solutions, Nov. 26 2019, https://dfaingredients.com/trends/gen-z-eating-habits/ 

Ghazzaoui Luke, R (2018) “Design Thinking Ideation: The Four Golden Rules” Echos School of Design Thinking, Jul. 17, 2018, https://schoolofdesignthinking.echos.cc/blog/2018/07/design-thinking-ideation-the-four-golden-rules/ 

McLuhan, M (1954) “Counterblast” 1954 Edition, transmediale/Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH, https://kyl.neocities.org/books/[ART%20MCL]%20counterblast.pdf 

Plattner, H (2010) “An Introduction to Design Thinking: Process Guide” Institute of Design at Stanford, https://web.stanford.edu/~mshanks/MichaelShanks/files/509554.pdf 

Sandikar, A (2021) “Why are reels and Tik Toks so addictive?” The Bridge Chronicle, Sep. 27, 2021, https://www.thebridgechronicle.com/tech/apps/why-are-reels-and-tik-toks-so-addictive 

TikTok Odds (2020) “How important is the first video you create on TikTok?” TikTok Odds, June. 11, 2020, https://www.tiktokodds.com/2020/06/how-important-is-first-video-you-create.html 

Ward, D (2005) “The Simplicity Cycle” Change This, Iss, 22.01., http://www.thedanward.com/the-simplicity-cycle/ 

Ward, D (2010) “The FIST Manifesto” Lt. Col. Dan Ward, USAF, Defense AT&L: November-December 2010, https://www.acqnotes.com/Attachments/The%20FIST%20Manifesto.pdf 

The Peer Review – Version 2

Michaela’s UOWDMS TikTok

Over the past 2 months Michaela has continued to diversify her UOWDMS TikTok account, as her solid concept isn’t holding her back from experimenting with the subject of her content. While Michaela’s account might seem like it is for a niche audience, she has made it accessible to a wider range of uni students, without compromising on its relatability.

Michaela has found a great format and process to frame her content and this was demonstrated at the start of the semester, which includes catchy viral sounds, relatable text and Michaela lip-syncing to the audio. Yet the content subject is what she is able to experiment with. She demonstrated her ability to iterate when her TikTik “why did you choose to study at UOW” receive an amazing amount of engagement. This TikTok was a result of Michaela iterating her original concept, which was to target relatable content to BCM first years and veteran students and instead start making content based on a broader student experience. This decision has really paid off as although broadening your content can have a negative effect, in UOWDMS case it did not, as the Australian uni student experience is still a niche topic. 

Playing to the Australian uni experience will limit Michaela to an Australian audience, but I do not think that is a negative thing. There are many popular TikTok accounts like @jakebfisher and @milligram96 whose success really does come from simply encapsulating experiences that are only relevant to Australians, but because it is so accurate their content comes across authentic and relatable. This is something that I really think Michaela could take advantage of, as she has already shown that 85% of her audience is Australian, so providing them with content that is niche to the Australian uni experience would be well received. 

I previously mentioned that Michaela had developed a very successful TikTok format for her videos. This would really ensure that the content she is producing is fast, inexpensive, simple and tiny (FIST). Maintaining this methodology is important to ensure she is able to post multiple times a week. So although I would often suggest for people to change their format to experiment with content style, I think Michaela has found an effective way to produce content and so instead she can experiment with her posts’ content and subject. 

Bella’s Bright Bulb

  • Content subject – Michaela has iterated successfully by altering her original concept by no longer targeting only BCM students. From here I believe she should still niche her content down to Australian uni students, as her analytics reveal this is already her content. So the nicher it is the more relatable the content. 
  • Format and process – Michaela could experiment with adding in the auto generate captions to her videos, not only making them more accessible to audiences but it can also increase view time and boost responsiveness.
  • The comments’ feedback loop – Michaela’s most popular video received nearly 200 comments many of which mention being on “Wollongong’s side of TikTok”, it is clear people have an emotional attachment to this type of content which encourages more comments. Even though she is not super familiar with Wollongong I would encourage her to do a little bit of research and infiltrate Wollongong TikTok. Even if it’s just a brief shared experience, she could start the conversation on Twitter and make TikToks based on people’s responses. 

Alicia’s A Watcher’s Guide TikTok

Across TikTok, Instagram and WordPress “A Watcher’s Guide” has undergone many iterations, each of which has allowed Alicia to further develop and refine her project. So when Alicia wasn’t receiving her desired feedback, she decided to alter the trajectory of her project giving her important learning experiences.

The original concept of “A Watcher’s Guide” was altered when Alicia pivoted away from mediums such as Instagram and WordPress. Limiting the amount of content produced can be beneficial when developing a DA, when producing content you soon realise what is realistic and whether it is having the desired effect. This has also meant that Alicia’s original concept was slightly adjusted to best fit the new medium, which is an important iteration to undergo as different platforms alter the way viewers consume content so it needs to be reflected in the methodology. This means the informative content that was put into one of Alicia’s blogs can now be split into 4-5 separate TikToks, whilst still supporting the original concept.

While choosing to focus on TikTok at this stage hasn’t given Alicia an extensive amount of time to experiment, I still think it can positively impacts the projects trajectory. She iterated based on feedback (or lack of feedback), and moved onto a platform that gives users helpful analytics to draw conclusions from. This means that even if her account does not reach a larger audiences by the end of the semester, she can still track her progress through data. It is clear Alicia is already taking advantage of this passive feedback by using her spreadsheet, allowing her to utilise the OODA loop, as she can observe and orient based on the data collection of her analytics and then choose to decide and act when producing new content. This is also useful as with niche content, your target audience is essential to its success, so tracking “what works” and “what doesn’t” will save time on experimenting with content. 

Bella’s Bright Bulb

  • Repurposing content – Although Alicia discontinued her blog, the time spent creating her first post does not need to go to waste. The blog can be turned into separate TikToks such as:
    • What to rewatch before watching Black Widow
    • Movies that the cast of Black Widow have appeared in
    • Black Widow favourite scenes
    • Thoughts on Black Widow
  • This will also give her insight into how platform changes and content length effects engagement.
  • Taking advantage of the algorithm – Alicia has already addressed the importance of watchtime on a TikTok’s success, but specifically how long a user lingers over a piece of content is crucial, this is what makes the For You Page so specific to users. When producing content for a niche audience you can take advantage of these content suggestions. So base some of the content on what you see on your own FYP, as Alicia would be apart of her own target audience. For instance, if Alicia kept watching TikToks based around the new season of “You” and then suddenly kept getting videos about another show called “Killing Eve” she could take that as a suggestion that her target audience is also engaging with it. So she can utilise peoples’ interests and interactions to have her videos suggested to users who are engaging with particular types of content. 

Beta Believe It’s “Needing a Feeding”

Needing a feeding is a cooking Tik Tok without 4 hour long methods, expensive spices that you can’t pronounce or Thermomixes, because let’s be real what 20 year old wants to deal with that when their hungry. 

In my beta pitch I discussed how I received useful feedback during my seminar discussions that encouraged me to make content that included:

So while the concept of my video did not change from this feedback, it supported the purpose of my videos and how uni students engage with them. Instead this feedback allowed my editing process to undergo iteration, as instead of spending time filming new content I was able to repurpose my Tik Toks and old cooking footage to create entirely new content. The Simplicity Cycle Manifesto states “We introduce new elements to the things we make, and these elements make the thing better.” So introducing different styles of content (such as collated food ideas) that still works towards my original purpose of producing content to help a younger audience. This small change is content allowed me to demonstrate FIST. 

The result of this content included


Observe – Shorting attention spans and increase in content consumption online

Orient – Tik Tok views require engaging content on the For You Page in order to maintain their focus which includes a combining content into the one video

Decide – Create Tik Toks with multiple food ideas collated into the one video with the same theme

Act – Create videos such as “eggs 2 ways” and “frozen berry dish ideas”

“When things go out of whack we can see something new and strange; and that is when we learn something.”

Franklin Spinney 2019

While I was convinced that the shorter the video, the better I could hold viewers attention and increase my watchtime. Yet after posting 54 second video, I noticed my “average time watched” was 22s which is actually higher than many of videos that are 20-30 seconds long. This video also received a higher ratio of likes per view, so if people find the video engaging and appealing to their niche, they will stick around to watch it.

@needing.a.feeding

If you haven’t tried eating Brie/Camembert cheese on a cracker with a drizzle of honey and slice of fruit… get on it 🍯 #cooking #cheese #satisfying

♬ rises the moon – liana flores

When researching ways to increase Tik Tok watch time and interesting suggestion appeared that noted that seamless video loops increase the completion rate. Over the next few weeks I want to experiment with this, in my shorter form videos, to see how it compares with my other experiments to increase watch time. 

From the get-go my main goals for Tik Tok over the semester was not to focus on trying to gain followers. This is because I knew how essential the For You Page was for Tik Tok, the FYP is Tik Tok’s homepage and therefore you do not need a ton of followers to be featured on it. When looking at my analytics my “video views by section” indicated that the large majority of my views come from the For You Page over a small portion coming from viewers’ following feed. This recognition is important as moving forward my content needs to be catered for the For You Page, which includes grabbing viewers attention in the first 0.5 seconds as they scroll through hundreds of other videos. Especially because I came to the discovery that my collated food videos reach more regions, I need to ensure that my videos are still accessible by non-Australians. This decision will effect small aspects such as ingredient choices, cultures and countries preferences. 

My content goals moving foward is:​​

  • Short form videos with “seamless loops” 
  • Include more food collated content
  • Exciting first clip – not just a food preview
  • More transitions between clips

All of which work towards the goal of increasing watch time, as performance rating heavily determines if the content gets pushed to more viewers

At the end of the day Tik Tok’s algorithm means that if you get one successful video it will increase the views and engagement of all of your Tik Toks. So the more content I make the more likely it is that it will be pushed on multiple users For You Page.

What’s the go with Jo? – Reflecting on my narrative interview

Last week a conducted a narrative interview with my boss Jo, who was an incredibly easy choice for me. Working alongside her I get to pick up on many of her work ethics and values, but getting to listen to how she perceives them was really eye-opening and rewarding. 

Preparing

Preparing for a narrative interview was a little bit more difficult than I anticipated, as using the narrative practice “the absent but implicit” requires you to directly respond to their statements, so theirs only so many questions you can have prepared. For me this meant I prepared around six questions that I felt would allow Joanna to expand on her professional values and actions. But this was also accompanied by a series of enquiring questions that were utilised by “The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support Therapeutic Enquiry” such as:

  • How do you think that affects how you…
  • What do you think people would have observed from you in that moment
  • How do you think you responded to…
  • Have you done anything like this before?
  • If you could label this action what would you call it?
(Hands reaching) Photo by youssef naddam on Unsplash

This helped me to encourage Jo to reveal her preferred story, as she had to go beyond the expression that she was relaying. Also having these prepared enabled me to double listen without getting too distracted by the next direction to lead the conversation to.

Something interesting that I mentioned at the end of my presentation is the restraint you face as an interviewer to not jump in and express your perspective of the interviewee in order to go against their self-critiques. When Jo would mention her self doubt, or feeling like a “crazy-person” or thinking she “waited too long”, my immediate response was to jump in and let her know how I perceived these actions. As for me, I saw her as leader who always had our best interest in mind, and who made the right calls at the right time for the right reasons, but you cannot interject yourself into how someone perceives their own actions, as it reveals more about their own values and ethics.

Presenting

(Two Purple-crowned Lorikeets) Photo by McGill Library on Unsplash

When discussing Jo’s tendency to be a perfectionist during my presentation, I actually reached my own discovery about my values and our relationship. This occurred because I discussed how when you are with someone who expresses self-doubt or stickling for perfection, I find it very easy to provide them with self-assurance, confidence and walk them through the situation. In a way that becomes very self-soothing, as I find it much easier to be optimistic and encouraging when other people are battling with their own thoughts, rather than providing myself with positive self-talk. So although I can very much relate (notice that I’m saying I and not WE 😉 ) to Jo’s experiences personally, working together enables me to balance out my own intentions and focus on providing extra support for both others and myself.  

When reading through the chat during my presentation it was great to see so many quotes that had stuck out to people, especially because when you keep relistening to an interview you forget about the things that immediately hit you when first first spoken. I was glad to see a lot of people were also struck by Jo’s comment:

“if you’re not embarrassed by your first product that you’ve put out, then you’ve waited too long”.

I can personally relate to that experience of self doubt and hesitancy, and although having expectations and wanting to improve on projects is beneficial, Jo demonstrated to me that at the end of the day you need to be honest with yourself. Especially because this is a great strength of Jo’s that she is hard worker and very thoughtful throughout the entire process of producing something, so it’s a good demonstration of how you can use these strengths without becoming your own worst critic. 

(Legs sticking out of ocean) Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

References:

Carey, M. Walther, S & Russell, S (2009) “The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support Therapeutic Enquiry” Family Process, Vol. 48, No.3, 2009, FPI, Inc

Freedman, J (2021) “Explorations of the absent but implicit” The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, No.4, Dulwich Centre

Keen to Stream – India’s Cinema in the Digital Age

Last week I reflected on India’s digital cinema, in relation to recent lockdowns and my online streaming experience. In terms of Asia in the Digital Age, India’s big step from movie cinemas to laptop/phone screens demonstrates that in order to stay connect you need to connect.

Since the majority of the global population lives in Asia, they will soon become the predominant when it comes to digital systems. This notion could be compared to India’s cinema, as they are the world’s largest producer of films, they could hold the majority in the future when it comes to digital cinema.

The perfect conditions have been created for this transition which includes:

  • Affordable mobile broadband
  • Increase in content consumption
  • High smart-phone penetration
  • Investments in Indian originals
  • 40 over-the-top media services operating in India

“Asia in the digital age” demonstrates that conditions such as these allow people to “gain digital access, exercise digital rights and influence the digital agenda”.

With Amazon Prime and Netflix set to invest $340 million in original Indian content, which is 52% of the total investments in 2021. This economic interest will thrust India’s cinema further into the digital domain. This is also prevalent as in my last blog post I noted that the Indian film industry contributes for more than 50% of the Indian economy. With such economical influence I am immediately struck by the rising power Indian cinema will hold.

By stepping onto the digital stage India is not only opening doors for its country, but for the rest of the world. Our younger generation particularly will often turn to the internet to get a better understanding of the world. Our constant consumption of content helps to shape that view, so having access to original content is essential to ensuring our understanding is current, realistic and true. With the increase of Indian original films being uploaded to streaming sites we can access unappropriated content with the touch of a finger.

India is also aware of this influence, as recently sites such as Amazon Prime were forced to issue an apology for content that “hurt religious sentiment“. A digital foot print is one thing, but a digital stampede is another. With the rest of the internet watching across the globe, proper representation is essential. Religion has an incredible influence on Indian society, which is a rich culture that needs to be displayed to the rest of the world. Film is a great medium to present it, and streaming is great way to share it.

Leaving The Familiar – Narrative Reflection

(Winnie the Pooh wrapped in a blanket)
Source: Tumblr

For six years I worked in the same local retail store. Everything there was very familiar to me, the customers, the workers, clock-in, clock-out. It wasn’t until I decided to leave to focus on my second job, that my very familiar safety blanket was taken away.

While I knew my time had come (like an overly ripe banana that is now attracting fruit flies), I was still scared to no longer have that job as my safety net. The job I moved onto is in the field I am studying, had a great work environment, challenged me and even got me excited for Mondays… So why was it hard for me to leave the job that I dreaded behind?

Externalising conversations involves the recollection of an experience in order to name actions and values that are understood, by separating the person from the problem.

My retail job made me feel like I knew what I was doing, and I knew how to measure my success. Did the customer leave happy, did you correctly count the money in the draw, did you crisply fold that mound of scrunched clothes?

While my new job made me question myself more. Did I say the right thing, do they think I am too young and inexperienced, am I the right person for the job? This sudden change in experience made me feel like I had imposter syndrome, as a constantly questioned whether or not my boss knew my experience level, or if she got my resume jumbled up.

I knew this transition was going to be hard, but I also knew the only way to overcome it was through my perception of it.

“Once problems are externalised they can then be put into story-lines.”

Carey and Russell, 2002

While my new job made me question myself more, it wasn’t because I wasn’t capable of doing it, it was because I cared about it more. Or the only reason why my old job felt like a safety blanket was because I was there for so long that I felt confident in what I was doing, not because I was meant to stay there.

By ripping off the bandaid (the bandaid being retail) I was able to dedicate more time to my new job, and realise that being in a role that made me feel inexperienced was really just an indication that the role would allow me to learn, grow and improve.

While I knew I was backed by my family, friends and workplace to make this change, I can realise that the only person that was holding back was me. “De-centring” (Carey & Russell, 2002) this issue meant I could reflect on how although it is important to be mindful and considered when making changes, the only reason why I was questioning myself is because this new job was really important to me.

This is something that I believe is evident in other areas of my life, as my decision making often involves considering many aspects of the situation. But I believe it has made me quite a thoughtful person, so although I can be stuck in the “what if” spiral, I know that I am able to talk through choices and possibilities to reach decisions. So in an industry where I am required to not only plan for the future but think on the spot, I am grateful for this considered approach.

By participating in externalising conversations I was able to focus into this change and how it reflected on me as not only a worker but an individual. Michael White (2007) noted that “By encouraging the recollection of significant, forgotten details, it seeks to generate more nuanced accounts of people’s lives, enabling them to consider wider ranges of possibilities for the future.” This was really important to me when externalising this disruption, as changing jobs seems like a straightforward process, from one chapter to another, but by delving into my experience I could self reflect on how my ability to make considered choices could also create an environment of self doubt.

According to Michael White (2007), externalising a conversation involves developing accounts of what they intend for their lives. So instead of focusing on how I continued to question myself, I chose to focus on how my ability to make thoughtful decisions has helped me in the workplace, and is a value that will assist me in times of change for the rest of my life.

This experience-near narrative allowed me to “de-centre” the issues I faced during disruption, as I could recognise how they were created. As when externalising a conversation you can explain “what you wish to do away with” (my hesitations and self-doubt) whilst “retaining abilities” (my thoughtful considered approach to decision making)(Carey & Russell, 2002).

Michael White (2005) specifically encourages the enquiry into the imposing “nature of self-talk” when externalising conversations. This was essential to narrative self-development, as it was only when I put myself back into that experience that I could recall how it initially inhibited my ability to back myself.

Resources:

Carey, M & Russell, S (2002) “Narrative therapy: Responding to your questions” The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, 2002 No.2, 

White, M (2005) “Michael White Workshop Notes” Dulwich Centre, pp.2-4

White, M (2007) “Maps of narrative practice” W W Norton & Co.

Reflecting on India’s Digital Cinema

Image from: Al Jazeera

In a time of lockdowns and travel bands, the only way many Australians can explore other countries is digital. So while Asia in the digital age has encouraged many economic, political and social changes within, it has also had a flow-on effect to many western countries.

It came as a shock to me to learn that India is the world’s largest producer of films. Not only this, but the contribution the Indian film industry contributes for more than 50% of the Indian economy! This has a huge amount of benefits to local economies, as it boosts the number of tourists and features key Southern Indian languages.

When learning this I couldn’t help but think “how is that possible?!”, especially due to the fact that I am all too familiar with film releases being pushed back or cancelled due to Covid. So to have 50% of the economy relying on this seems, tense.

Image from: Statista

Well the reality is that Indian cinema has been hit hard during Covid and movie theatres are being forced to close at large rates. Yet further research into Indian cinema revealed that India’s “digital cinema” has proven that India is well and truely in the digital age. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar each invested in India as one of the fastest-growing web market.

As someone who hasn’t been able to step foot in a cinema in 5 months, yet I have seen many new releases from the comfort of my couch, this move seems like a no-brainer. Although theatrical releases would generate a lot of money in the Bollywood industry, the shift to streaming services still offers unique benefits to Indian film such as:

  • More than half of the Indians films launched on Netflix in the last 12 months had female producers, directors or central character
  • Creativity towards exploring different matters and struggles
  • Access to a large set of customers/viewers

Asia in the Digital Age has demonstrated the global context such technology shifts can make to the connection to the digital economy, through which India is noted to specialise in the “provision of digital labour”. India’s digital cinema “expanded public spheres and public participation”, so streaming services can go beyond the viewing experience and can extend to participation in social media discourse which is open to a more diverse audience.

Exploring the Indian films available on Netflix

By exploring India’s digital cinema, I was surprised by the the huge role it plays in India’s economy. So it was particularly interesting to see how India had to dive into digital streaming to maintain income during the pandemic. Though, this move should not be surprising to me considering the incredible growth of India web market, streaming is just another avenue. By adapting to large streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, the Indian film market is completely accessible by Australians, so we don’t have to change our viewing habits or platforms in order to access an Indian film.

Let’s View The Reviews

Amelia’s Podcast: “In the Interim”

Concept

Amelia’s DA is a podcast called “In the Interim” which features two of her friends. As she mentioned she has previously made a podcast, I do encourage her decision for her DA to take this form as it is clear during the pandemic listenership for podcasts is still on the rise (not to mention recent lockdowns). I believe the concept of the podcast itself gives Amelia a lot of room to play, as she as able to adjust topics, themes and talking styles as she sees fit over the course of the episodes releases.

Methodology –

I believe Amelia’s decision to also run a podcast Instagram is a great idea. Often podcast “highlights” get more views/listens than the episode itself, as it is able to give audiences a little taste of the content. By cutting up parts of the episodes and turning them into Instagram reels Amelia will be able to get a good sense of which content/topics are successful and which are not, because over the course of a full episode you cannot tell which parts audiences engaged with most.

Utility –

The utility of this DA is very relevant to the current times in lockdown. I think a good way for Amelia to consider the relevance to her audience is to think about how and when they will listen to the podcast. For instance will they listen when working from home, when going for a walk or when cleaning, this could help to better understand what topics and what length of time would be the most beneficial.

Pitch –

Amelia’s pitch was very well recorded and looked very aesthetic, she was able to use the template to ensure she addressed everything. It would be great to see a little bit more “behind the scenes”, whether that is the set up of Instagram, screen recordings of testing Zencastr or examples of any podcast influences Amelia has. This would just help provide more visual examples of her DA.

Suggestions –

I really think experimenting with Instagram reels will be important to this DA, as previously mentioned podcast highlights often generate a lot of engagement. If Amelia is posting to Instagram reels, I would encourage her to also post to TikTok as they contain the same format but it could help drive more engagement from the for you page. Typically this would require video recordings of the podcast as well, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be high quality. For instance “4 Freakshow” is a podcast/stream I often see highlights for on my TikTok and it is always displayed as a screen recording of a zoom call.

Michaela’s TikTok: “UOWDMS”

Concept –

Michaela’s DA is a TikTok account created for UOWDMS, as she became the UOWDMS TikTok creator in August 2020. This year worth of experience has allowed her to get a good understand of which content varied in interaction, so she is able to experiment with the algorithm. I really like Michaela’s concept, as she focuses on a more niche topic (university life) and is able to expand on it with so many different styles and trends. Having this more niche topic means she is able to gain a better understanding of her audience.

Methodology –

I definitely think Michaela has the right idea when creating content, TikTok can really be about the right place at the right time when it comes to trends. It is especially important that Michaela is an active user of TikTok, because there is nothing worst then seeing a creator jump on a trend 2 months late because they’re not actively engaged in the community. Maybe something interesting she could try out is borrowing the account of someone with a similar demographic, in order to view their “for you page”. This could further inform her content, as she would be getting a wider variety of trends.

Utility –

Being able to have such a tight target audience is great, especially because she is apart of that demographic. This allows Michaela to create relatable authentic content, as she does not need to try to understand or research her audience, because she is already apart of her audience. Creating this account for DMS has proven that Michaela can take a niche topic and expand it into hundreds of pieces of content.

Pitch –

Michaela had a very clear and concise pitch, her use of the template made the pitch very easy to follow. Something that I would have liked to be discussed further is Michaela’s plans for experimentation, since in the past she tested how posting times, frequency and hashtags affect her engagement. I would encourage Michaela to follow the same notion of experimentation with posts, but look into a new variable.

Suggestions –

Coming off my pitch feedback I think an interesting way to experiment with your content is to explore other people’s for you pages. It’s a common joke for people to ask “which side of TikTok are you on?” but I think Michaela could lean into exploring the difference between “straight and alt TikTok“. Although it seems funny, there really is such a dramatic difference in content styles, so this may help Michaela to fine-tune which style best suits her audience.

Needing a Feeding Pitch

Needing a Feeding videos are relevant to students as many of us want to eat healthily, impress our friends with dishes and just experiment more with new recipes. But cooking books and shows can be overwhelming and assume that 20 year olds have bay leaves.

So my videos allow viewers to save the short videos to whip out when they want a good dish to make. Especially if they

  • Have limited cooking experience
  • Are short on time
  • Do not have a lot of equipment
  • Are limited to a few basic ingredients

Being aware of these limitations and creating content that focuses on working around it ensures that students can relate to the videos. The medium of TikTok means that students don’t have to specifically search for cooking videos, nor do they have to maintain a long attention span like they would with other cooking media

My DA content is very relevant to me as I was previously interested in studying nutrition, but I thought I could later try to incorporate health or food into my media degree. So this account turned into my overlapping interests.

My Needing a Feeding account has often come in very useful when applying to jobs, as employers are usually intrigued by my videos. Even though the opportunities did not involve food it still involved many skills like:

  • Video editing
  • Photo editing
  • Social media management
  • Background research
  • Social media analytics
  • Content copy

Experimentation research for my DA

This semester I have been interested in looking into possibilities of experimentation that I can run alongside my Needing a Feeding account. Looking at shifts that the online cooking community could take part in lead me to research NFTs.

I was interested to learn that there are NFTs in the food world including recipes, menus, food photography and wine. Recently even Pizza Hut released “the world’s first non-fungible pizza”.

The idea of recipe NFTs peaked my interest. Currently the most popular recipes are actually cocktail recipes, as it gives bartenders an opportunity to “mint” their original drink recipes.

I think it would be interesting to make corresponding NFT recipe cards for my videos. Even though I’m not particularly interested in monetising my recipes, I still think it would be interesting to move into that space and see how the foodie community operates within it.

The metric I am most interested in for NFTs is the amount of views it receives. As this data would help me get a better grasp as to the amount of traffic that is on sites such as OpenSea from the foodie community to assist me with my DA.

The Algorithm of Human Intuition – AlphaGo

The number of possible board configurations in the game Go is more than the number of atoms in the universe, so who better to take the game on than artificial intelligence?

This sort of incredible computing power seems like what you would only see in science fiction. Sure it’s not threatening to overrule the world, but it is digital processes that are so complex that they could change the way we operate as a society, yet it can be classified as Esports. This discussion became the focus during my live tweeting of AlphaGo (2017) – what does this mean and where will it lead us?

In Anthique’s discussion of the “Infrastructural Turn” the technical level of infrastructure includes financial systems, data centres, supercomputers, mobile infrastructure, GPS and manufacturing, with only a small amount of Asian economies have the ability to develop a “full suite of infrastructure”.

Seeing such phenomenal technology in “AlphaGo” makes me focus in on its ability to improve manufacturing and labor infrastructure in Asia. With 28% of the world’s manufacturing output taking place in China this sort of computing power could completely alter the future of labor. While it could help to overcome the many dangerous or abusive situations created by this industry, it will also displace 56% of Asian manufacturing jobs through the rise of automation. This could have detrimental effects on workers and citizens, in order to achieve cheaper manufacturing and labor costs through the Trans-Pacific partnership.

“AlphaGo” also encourages important discussion about what jobs and tasks technology can replace. While many workers would agree that AI could not do what they do, maybe we shouldn’t be too confident… A quote that stood out to me in AlphaGo (2017) was “we have to come up with some kind of clever algorithm to mimic what people do with their intuition.” Intuition. The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. Human intuition was something we once thought was untouchable by machines.

With the ability for technology to improve itself to become stronger through learning, AlphaGo played against itself to accumulate “thousands of years of human knowledge“. This ability could be crucial to replicating tasks previously only carried out by humans. How important is the human touch when you have AI created with an algorithm based on our intuition.

The infrastructural turn involves many competing discussions, to which we need to consider the future possibilities of technology such as AlphaGo and what is means for citizens and their jobs.