Working Together, Separately

DING! *text message*

BL – BLING! *email*

BLEE – BLOOP! *facebook notification*

TLOP! *snapchat notification*

Thanks to technology ever evolving and the progression of social media, we are now able to connect with people in all corners of the world within an instant! How? Through a device we carry around in our pockets in just a click of a button!

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Collaborate means to work together. (Lassiter 2005, p. 15) Therefore, collaborative ethnography refers to working together to achieve a main goal. (Lassiter 2005, p. 20) This week, I was able to conduct my own virtual, collaborative ethnography by exploring the work of my fellow classmates’ ethnographic studies. In particular, I analysed the topic ‘television in the home’, focusing on Jasmyn Connell’s blogpost ‘His Master’s Voice (Connell 2018)’ and Rachael Tennison’s blog post ‘TV Time Travel. (Tennison 2018)’

What was similar about these posts?


Both blog posts were memory conversations. The authors conducted interviews, asking their fathers to reflect on their television experiences growing up. The men both described their televisions as small, wooden boxes, with large antenna. There was only one television, located in a formal set up in the lounge room. The fathers recalled their families gathering around the television to watch it together.

What was different about these posts?


The time period!

Jasmyn’s father’s television experience was in the 80s, whilst Rachel’s father’s television experience was in the 50s. Of course, this means the television programmes the fathers remembered watching were different. However, we can also conclude from analysing these two experiences, that television did not evolve much between these three decades.

Unfortunately, as time changes, our memory fades. Therefore, the sources of our memory conversations may not be 100% reliable. Overtime, our memories fade and our brains skew events that took place within our lives. Therefore, there is a large chance that some of the events your interviewee could be describing are the result of false memories.

However, alongside Jasmyn’s memory conversation, she conducted a mini auto ethnographic study on her own television experience. She described an experience completely different to her father’s. She has multiple televisions located in different rooms, so everyone can watch different programmes of their choice individually. She also spoke about ‘multi’ screening as she ‘watched’ television. This raises the question as to whether technology connects or separates. Schirra, Sun and Bentley describe this as being ‘alone together.’ (Bentley, Schirra, and Sun 2014) They claim people in modern society are more likely to interact with social media whilst watching a program, making them feel a part of a community (Bentley, Schirra, and Sun 2014) .


I learnt a lot from reading these two posts. By conducting memory conversations as part of ethnographic studies, we are able to delve into a world separate from our own. Therefore we are able to grasp an understanding of what television was like decades before our existence, allowing us to understand where our technology originated from and how it has changed.




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