This report produced by CEDAR - a consortium of emerging, European early career audience researchers funded by AHRC - identifies a number of trends in the changing media landscape:
1) Media is becoming more intrusive and as a result audiences are needing to develop coping strategies. More needs to be known about these developing audience resistance cultures.
2) Simultaneously, audiences are increasingly participating in small-scale acts of engagement online (one-click, commenting, sharing, debating..and also producing small stories). These acts have potentially profound consequences en masse, creating complex negotiations between audiences and traditional media.
3) Audience participations have economic implications and as a result, are increasingly managed and co-opted by global players. Related to this, there is growing distrust between audiences and media platforms.
4) Audience engagements are also increasingly datafied, with new business models emerging around the largely unregulated metrification of audience activity. Nevertheless, that knowledge is a 'one-way street' so that the insights are not generally shared with audiences in turn. The algorithmic functions of interfaces are also not transparent.
Media intrusion is linked to 4 characteristics:
1) The exploitation of audience labour (and the need to bridge previous cultural studies and political economy analysis) - as well as audience engagement with this practice, including perceptions of rewards
2) Formativity - the way that audiences agency and expectations are pre-configured by system and interaction design.
3) Pervasiveness - the increasing embeddedness, ubiquity and importance of digital media
4) Exclusion - the power imbalance between media and audiences, so that audiences do not participate in discussions about media formativity.
Small audience engagement studies need to take account of
- temporal, spatial and technical affordances (possibilities)
- the social position of the producer e.g. altruism, social and cultural capital
- the levels of productivity and effort involved
- as well as intended and unintended effects (which include the possibility that micro-engagement can encourage extended, or deeper participation over time)
- Since the use of technology does not always equate to participation, the potential bridges and disconnections between micro (and fun e.g. the ice bucket challenge?) and macro forms of engagement also need to be considered
The increasing centrality of emotions in political participation is also noted, with reference to previous studies on tweets showing that facts, feelings, opinions and affective sentences are often blended and shape emotive stories at times of political upheaval. In addition, this emotionality can foster a sense of belonging, or community identity.
Related to this, the report assets that media literacy increasingly requires the ability to reflect and question.
The report recommends the development of more meaningful and nuanced choices for audience agency - so that audiences are not simply faced with the choice to participate, or not with the situation as it is and can respond with more than resignation.
Related to this, clearer analysis of the fragmented, individualised and hyper-connected audience experience of the developing internet of things media-scape (predicted to be normalised by 2030) is encouraged.
A shift away from the perception of media intrusion as a self-management concern, towards a more socially engaged discussion of potential regulation and design response is urged. At present, it is pointed out, the burden of regulation often falls heavily on the individual.
The increasing prevalence of academic/non-academic collaboration in this research is also noted, along with expectations that these collaboration can be potentially influential for future policy making.
Das, R. and Ytre-Arne, B., 2017. Audiences, towards 2030 Priorities for audience analysis.
How does the presence of an audience influence social interaction with a chatbot in a physical space?
Summary: The user experience of chatbot engagement is greatly influenced by different audience conditions such as the presence of a queue (causing timing anxieties), the company of strangers (which inspire less performative, or three-way inter-audience dialogue exchanges than acquaintances), and whether, or not the chatbot directly addresses the participant.
This article reports a dual study of the user experience at an art exhibit where visitors interacted ("talked" with) three chatbots representing characters from a book. The study included fieldwork observation, together with analysis of over 5000 conversation logs and video recordings to identify any dialogue patterns and possible correlations with audience conditions.
- Awareness of a queue caused participants to rush.
- Awareness of being observed by known acquaintances encouraged expressions of emotional appreciation towards the exhibit and yet also made it more likely that participants would exchange with other audience members through the artwork, rather than with the chatbots themselves. This context also made it less likely that participants believed that the chatbots were answering their questions.
- Awareness of the presence of strangers encouraged participants to ask general questions not related to the plot - and also made it more likely that participants felt part of the conversation and that the chatbots were indeed talking to them directly.
- Observation by acquaintances, rather than strangers also intensified the likelihood of a public reaction to chatbot failure. Direct address by chatbots also increased this likelihood - except when observed by acquaintances.
- These effects were intensified by gender. Female users observed by strangers in the queue were more likely to feel that the characters talked to them, while male users did not report that. When observed by strangers around the table, female users (significantly more than male users) were less likely to perceive chatbots talking about other subjects. Male users were also more likely to 'show off' in front of acquaintances.
The study was undertaken in the context of an artwork called Coffee with the Santiagos by three Brazilian artists. It recreated a dining room of the 19th century populated with physical representations of characters from one of the most well known and acclaimed novels in Brazilian
literature: “Dom Casmurro” by Machado de Assis (the novel
was originally published on 1899). The researchers deliberately chose a well known title to facilitate social exchange.
1: Designers should consider the user’s previous knowledge of content as it tends to affect the social interaction with machines, in particular when users have audiences.
2: Designers should consider that the presence of strangers in a queue waiting to interact with a physical conversational system, may affect how users will experience the system.
3: Designers should consider gender effects when crafting public interactions with conversational systems, including how to handle answers to out of scope questions.
4: Designers should consider tailoring and using direct address in some cases of chatbot utterances according to the presence of an audience. In general, chatbots should either use the direct address, such as vocatives or pronouns to acknowledge all the participants in the audience or not at all.
Candello, H., Pinhanez, C., Pichiliani, M., Cavalin, P., Figueiredo, F., Vasconcelos, M. and Do Carmo, H., 2019, May. The effect of audiences on the user experience with conversational interfaces in physical spaces. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-13).
In order to generate enough social buzz on the street to help build an audience, mobile augmented reality game designers should ensure that play is accessible, visibly different and ideally, social.
Santa’s Lil Helper (SLH), was a free mobile AR Christmas-themed treasure hunt application/event set up temporarily in a metropolitan area that failed to generate broad engagement due to a limited honeypot effect (HP involves the attractive lure of a crowd at play, visible popularity, fun and curious happenings in public and social contexts). Whereas the honeypot effect (HP) is generally a useful contributor to the success of public technologies, by creating awareness, stimulating audience interest, and lowering social barriers to involvement the mobile application Santa’s Lil Helper impeded that effect because of:
1) a lack of presence of people in relation to the game and its interactive components
2) a lack of visibility of gameplay in urban space
3) lack of sharing options
SLH involved a treasure hunting-style task in which Santa had reportedly lost his mobile phone. Players had to help recover the phone by visiting six different locations within the city. Users could visit the locations in any order they wished to complete the game. Each location was denoted by temporary physical markers, which served as triggers for AR content within the game. Five of the six sites contained markers that were four-sided columns approximately 1.85 metres in height. The sixth site had a marker that was implemented as a sign above a large red throne.
The city council had commissioned the game and advertised it throughout the city. Nevertheless, the game sites typically contained only a handful of people at any one time, so that no player crowds were visible to passers-by.
LACK OF PRESENCE
The researchers suggest that perhaps the game was too widely distributed across all 6 sites, so that the number of people and time spent at each location was significantly limited (and HP would need to be regenerated at each site). This dispersion also meant that there was less control of the interaction – which may be significant since the temporary disruption/redirection of the normal flow of urban movement and traffic can also generate interest.
LACK OF VISIBILITY
At that time of year, the props blended in with all the other Christmas decorations and were easily lost/absorbed/rendered invisible amidst the bustling city streets. People would often occupy those spaces for other activities, like sitting down. Furthermore, the main action of the game was pointing a phone at the markers to view the AR, which is similar to the way that people use phones normally, so it was not clear to passers-by that participants were playing a game.
LACK OF SHARING
Given the action occurred on personal mobile screens, it was hard for passers-by to observe the AR. Also, the application’s large file size meant that passers-by could not spontaneously download it and join in.
n.b. As part of this study the researchers discovered that the offer of on-street mobile charging services encouraged longer, more personable and in-depth user interviews.
Kelly, R.M., Ferdous, H.S., Wouters, N. and Vetere, F., 2019, April. Can Mobile Augmented Reality Stimulate a Honeypot Effect?: Observations from Santa's Lil Helper. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. 285). ACM.
The USW Audience of the Future research team is compiling a summary collection of recent research in the field of immersive, and enhanced reality media