how is International students’ social media use different to domestic students’? [PITCH pt. 2]

A severe issue I’ve located within social media use amongst students is that its disproportionate use builds a huge barrier between the Domestic and International students.

Chen and Ross (2015) saw Chinese students as ‘meak, quiet or Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.03.59 pm.pngstandoffish’ and this is hugely due to the space provided by the online community they find on their mobile phones. Their constant need for instant communication also creates friction when response expectations are not met – it is a poor substitute for real world interactions [Robertson, cited in Hall and Sivakumaran, 2014].

Furthermore, other studies reported findings that International students maintained relationships among like-people (Lee & Ranta, 2014; Olding, 2013) and this was even bigger of a problem when students preferred to use platforms they were using back home, rather than learn and embrace the platforms that were trending in their host countries (Saw et al., 2012; Chang, Alzougool, Gomes, Berry, Smith & Reeders, 2012). To add on to this, according to Saw et al. (2013), ‘international students were (using) it to build new relationships with students of the same ethnicity.’


But too abundant was the research on the use of social media solely upon International students, for educational and socio-cultural purposes, and not enough comparisonal analysis were made.


  • How is social media use different from International students as compared to Domestic students?
  • How does it impact the relationship of the two in social situations and in the classroom?
When do they use it the most? Where are they most likely to be online? How do they use their social media?


My ethnographic approach:

I am very fortunate to be able to live on campus, Bangalay, as it gives me direct access to a lofty amount of approachable International students. The environment is also very different to the classroom as many people are often encouraged to socialise and I’ll use this opportunity to point out the differences between the two sceneries. Additionally, I will be able to talk to International students about their social media use in the classroom, at home or in social situations. I’ll contrast and analyse the results I have found with a similar discussion amongst domestic students.

I intend to embrace the concept of asking International students what they regard as issues within social media use amongst their community for further investigation. I chose to do this because ‘informants can identify urgent research more clearly than the ethnographer’ [Spradley, cited in Lassiter, 2005].

I’d take into consideration the grey area between offline and online worlds that are constantly decreasing due to technological improvements, [Garcia, et al 2009] and approach new world ideas through keeping to updated sources and millennial relevance. [Lange, 2010]

This ethnography practise will embody the Journalistic MEA code of ethics as participants’ permission will be vital and the’ll be informed about the research purpose beforehand. I will remind them that if they wish to step out, they are allowed to and that all raw data will be erased after submission of the task. I’ll avoid sensitive topics and keep in mind the individuality/differences of each participant.

Data found, stories heard, and the conclusion of possible positive will be recounted through a documentary-like video presentation that will include many illustrations/examples and a narration.

ISAASUOSM Consent Form


Garcia, A., Standlee, A., Bechkoff, J. and Yan Cui (2009). Ethnographic Approaches to the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1), pp.52-84
Lange, D. (2010). Mc Vay Media Rocks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].
Lassiter, L. (2005). Defining Collaborative Ethnography, an excerpt from The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].


international students and social media? [PITCH pt. 1]


Recently, I’ve been comparing blog posts among my colleagues and I’ve noticed that a lot of people told on their social media use while travelling. Thus, following onto that, I became very curious about how social media would differentiate in the case of International students – for they are here to study but they’re constantly away home, therefore, travelling.

I’ve found that my colleagues used social media when travelling for three main purposes:

  1. Sharing videos/photos
  2. Contacting family and friends back home
  3. For information and often, directions

I wondered if anyone had studied social media amongst International students and when I searched it up, I found many results backed up with sufficient data.



Researchers found social media beneficial for International students’ education and wellbeing. Purnima, (2012) pointed out a research finding: International students spent a Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.03.05 pm.pngthird of their time on social media [Zhao, 2016]. This was adjacent to their keeping in contact with people back home – increasing emotional support. Furthermore, many admitted to using social media for learning purposes, through sharing content and ideas, beginning discussions and communicating amongst groups. They are further given access to communicate with host families and the friends they made once they go back home – increasing a global mobility and interconnected networks. [Hall and Sivakumaran, 2014] The engagement between social media and student also allows a higher level of commitment to studies and students who interact regularly are more satisfied with their university experience [Yu et al, cited in Zhao, 2016].



Hall and Sivakumaran’s (2014) report on International students’ social media use showcased that ninety-six percent of students surveyed had reliable internet for social media access, ninety one stating that they used social media to contact with friends and family back home. Eighty three per cent agreed that social media was a means of contacting new friends and sixty three explained that it improved their English communication skills and vocabulary.



Regardless of the many positives, there are more losses and wastelands in regards to what social media can really be used for. International students reported an understanding of the capability of social media use for educational purposes and saw an influence on academic performances but too many reported not actually using them educationally. This outlook was tested correct as a study noted that five Saudi female International students were aware of the educational side of Facebook, but four of the five students have not actually used it for that purpose [Binsahl et al., cited in Hall and Sivakumaran].

Grey at al. (2010) and other critics also argued that the act of “assuming that social software is appropriate for educational purposes” is dangerous; that students’ excessive use of these technologies often result negatively on grades. Al Farhoud et al. (2016) further discovered that social media was used for reasons that were distractive, – communicative and entertaining, – amongst International students.Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.02.51 pm.png

Whilst a study showed high results of Facebook as a platform for gathering information, many Chinese students created an account upon arrival for a sense of belonging, but found that they prefered and eventually strayed to using Renren instead, as they identified with the platform better.


Hall, H. and Sivakumaran, T. (2014). Social media use among international students. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].
Saw, G., Abbott, W. and Donaghey, J. (2013). Social media for international students – it’s not all about Facebook. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Sep. 2018].
Zhao, X. (2016). Social Media and the International Student Experience. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Sep. 2018].

collaborative ethnography + social media use

Looking back to my first blog post on the #BCM241 train of thoughts,
I remember distinctly discussing the losses of documenting my travels. Only now looking at the concept of collaborative ethnography and joining to discuss a similar topic, had I considered looking to see if anyone related to my experience with social media overseas.

I sat back and realised I wasn’t alone!

In ‘The Cursed Blessings of a Thai Sim,’ Proust retells of her time in Thailand where
she buys herself a sim in order to keep in touch with people and show them what she was up to. I agreed with her stance as I found that I had done almost quite exactly the same thing. Winnie’s
‘Airport Instagram’ post similarly reflects on our need to take perfect photos and get a ‘higher country count’  rather than purely travelling, this thus robbed us of indulging the ultimate experience of the trip.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 1.14.26 pm.png

Focusing solely on the public transport, Osberg also approached a topic that is true to many people. ‘The Unsocial Bus Ride’ talks about her need to listen to music while being on a bus ride. In my case, I need music on any form of transport!

Returning to perfect photos, I even found a blog that wrote on my issues with having the perfect feed. Smith’s ‘Instagram Experience’ touches base on how many of us have ‘a weird cycle of deleting and re-uploading posts and deleting all of my posts altogether because I couldn’t decide (our) ‘brand’, ‘theme’ or ‘online personality’ ‘

According to Lassiter (2005), collaborative ethnography is distinctive in that it ‘deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it’ because ethnography itself is already collaborative as ‘we cannot possibly carry out our unique craft without engaging others in the context of Culture-of-Learning.jpgtheir real, everyday lives’. Lassiter had found from studying Narcotics Anonymous that the best kind of ethnographies are the ones told with the intention of helping people’s ordinary lives through being able to detect where it can be improved.

“Informants can identify urgent research more clearly than the ethnographer,” [Spradley, cited in Lassiter, 2005]

If someone was to begin an ethnographic study of social media use amongst millennials, they would need to embrace Garcia et al (2009) explanation that the online and offline is increasingly merging due to convalescent technology, – transforming and interacting with each other, – and so (us) ethnographers need to adjust traditional modes of research and get (our) heads out of the 80s and welcome the new world.’ (see: Lange, 2010)

After looking at these blogs, I realised that what we all touched based on may be different areas but often a topic relates to another person. Every blog is woven into a web of a bigger underlying issue and my summary of our social media use as a group:

We’re all guilty but none of is going to stop.


Garcia, A., Standlee, A., Bechkoff, J. and Yan Cui (2009). Ethnographic Approaches to the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1), pp.52-84.
Lange, D. (2010). Mc Vay Media Rocks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2018].
Lassiter, L. (2005). Defining Collaborative Ethnography, an excerpt from The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Sep. 2018].



digital ethnography of Kpop fans

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 6.00.49 pm

As a baby teen, I was a huge Korean pop fan – way before my twitter was used for more professional purposes, it was a messy feed dedicated to supporting my idols and a platform where I found similar people that had the same interests as me.

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 6.03.40 pmThis evoked the beginning of my obsessed 13 year old’s online presence, a budding process of representing myself online as a fan and being part Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 6.03.56 pm.pngof a global fandom through discussions, hashtags and retweets. Soon after, I was writing fanfictions on AsianFanfics (so embarrassing to admit) and promoting my idol’s causes through creating scrapbook-like photographs on Instagram. Where I was originally just a consumer, the deeper a connection I made with the web and its inhabitants, I started to become a producer too – I became a ‘prosumer’ [Ritzer and Jurgenson, 2010]

Studying these relationships between producer and consumer would no longer be complete without understanding the influence of the social media platform that unites the two, as according to Garcia (2009), the distinction between the online and offline is increasingly merged as the two spaces interact and transform each other.

When I ask myself, ‘Was that fandom actually a community?’, I answer yes. So instead of delving into whether it was one or not I chose to study into the fact that it was one for me. Was, being the key word. It allowed us to share, inform, agree and discuss. I made lots of online friends that to this day, I still have connections with. Twitter allowed me to meet people when they come from across the countries to attend a concert or keep in touch with friends I’ve made.

I note, however, that even their pages that was once filled with their fangirl identity has now warped into a modern aesthetic of their adult lives. As I visit their rooms over the years, I remember that I would see walls full of posters and now, every single poster had been taken down and thrown away. The stepped away from the offline community.

They started to talk about different things.

They started to document their lives outside of music videos and concerts.

They grew out of their fandom stages.

That is not to say that the online community has died – in fact, I believe that the power of the fandom is stronger now than ever as technology has allowed for a flawless global communication. Even though some of us have strayed away, others come to continue on the legacy of these communities. I assume it would be just as uniting as it was.

The thing about online communities is that even if it dies down for someone, it is a permanent memory.

Every aspect of it still exists somewhere in the archives, in codes.


Before social media platforms in the web 2.0, the eye of the fangirl was very different. It was much more localised and short fetched, harder was their access similar people or songs/concerts.

The incorporation of social media into all kinds of fandoms create a very powerful and globalised community, who can share ideas, feedback and discuss topical revelations. It makes producers able to see the reactions and the fandom community that they are creating, giving them more exposure and a direct way to connect with their fans.

So is it that we are addicted to these idols or is it that they are addictive?

Has social media deepened that obsession? Or cut it off?


Caliandro, A. (2017). Digital Methods for Ethnography: Analytical Concepts for Ethnographers Exploring Social Media Environments. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, [online] p.089124161770296. Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].
Chaffey, D. (2018). Global social media research summary 2018 | Smart Insights. [online] Smart Insights. Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].
media/anthropology. (2015). 13. Six ways of doing digital ethnography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].

netflix or ‘movie theaters’

The actual earliest flashbacks I can possibly comprehend regarding my presence in a cinema and the film that was showing was “A Quiet Place,” but I can see scattered bits and pieces of seeing “Happy Feet,” “Ice Age” and “Madagascar” when I was a wee lad.

Ice_age_collision_course.jpg MV5BMTQyNTkxMjUwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ2NTU0MQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpgMadagascar-movie-poster.jpg

Thinking about the most recent cinemas, the Hoyts in Warrawong now has recliners, you can buy your tickets online and get food sent to your seat. Most beneficially, they have invented a portable captioning device for those hard of hearing.

Whilst back in the day, I’ve found out through multiple conversations with my elders, the movies would play back to back and the auditorium would often be bigger with larger but the seats were not necessarily more comfortable. People would be more formally dressed up and refer to their act of watching a movie in the auditorium as ‘seeing the movie theatres’ or ‘going to the cinemas’.

Additionally, back in my home country Indonesia, I noticed that the movies are cheaper ($5 in XXI) compared to ($20 in Hoyts) and even the cinemas are surprisingly more fancy and luxurious.

The distinctive different atmosphere of watching a movie in the cinemas, compared to at home, come in these forms:

  1. The cinema is a dark place
  2. The sound is out of your control
  3. You’re less likely to look at your phone
  4. The big screen makes it easier to become immersed in the movie
  5. You’re watching with people just as engaged
  6. The smell of popcorns gives a odd sense of comfort

Before this week, the act of my sitting in a cinema was so foreign that I’ve pushed myself to go on cinema dates and have officially seen two movies (the most, in a long time) in a week. They were “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” and “Mission Impossible: Fallout”.

My memory of going to the cinemas have degraded over the years and this could be due to multiple reasons – interest in other things, no time to watch, Netflix being cheaper and more convenient. My hearing has also gotten worse so I prefer to watch online with subtitles.

Additionally, the auditorium attendees declining would be evident in looking at three constraints that often prevent us from seeing movies in the cinemas as easily (see: Witheridge 2015).

  • The capability constraints for me are evident in the fact that my university life is busy and I don’t have a car, so the cinema has become less accessible for me. If I go, I usually aim for a 6pm movie after my class and before it gets too dark that my mum frowns upon my going.
  • My coupling constraints exist in conjunction with capability constraints, as I go on Monday or Fridays at around 6pm with my boyfriend as that is when we are both most flexible and free.
  • Authority constraints are painted in the fact that there are more rules and expectations of me in a cinema. I would have to be respectful of strangers, comfortable but not too comfortable (can’t talk, can’t look at phone, and can’t drink or chew too loudly) and a higher authority has control of the movie playing – out of my hands is the act of putting subtitles on, pausing or controlling the sound/brightness.


Corbett, J. (2001). Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography.. CSISS Classics. UC Santa Barbara: CSISS Classics.
Witheridge, G. (2015). Hagerstrand Not The Irrational Man: An analysis of why tumbleweeds have replaced jaffas rolling down cinema aisles. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018].


The first time my parents ever handed me a portable mobile to use was on my eleventh birthday and it was a motorola slide square phone. I had absolutely no$_3.JPG idea how to use it and in the end, that phone was only ever really used for the silly games and as an accessory.

This is not to say that I didn’t understand technology, because before that I was already brain-deep in the workings of my very first iPad.

Nowadays, I do not recognise a day without my phone.

At home, I am on my laptop, with my TV screen behind it and my phone just in arms length (like right now). They’re all used for different reasons – 1) the television for background noise and my occasional attention when the show that’s on get’s interesting, 2) my laptop for browsing, researching and uni work and 3) my phone for Snapchat, messaging and social media.

I realised something as I paid attention to the people around me:

Technology allows us to choose when we pay attention.

As Sue (2018)  had said, our devices allow us to divert our attention to more interesting stuff; we are where we chose to be, but we also want to be somewhere else when the place we’re at hits a low.

38954553_256275688527013_2829957181149806592_n.jpgA friend of mine who is always on her phone to her boyfriend. No matter where she would be, she would keep him updated and I found it cute until I was shocked by a story she told me:

“He gets mad at me for being on my phone all the time when we’re together.”


It would not be that big a deal for me had I not been paying attention to this specific aspect. I assumed that people are on their phones because they want to be somewhere else and if she always wanted to be with her boyfriend the whole time, why is she still on her phone even when they were together?

Are we trying to be inhuman? Are we trying to… teleport? Exist in more places than one?


A similar story I’ve heard in this recent week is of another friend of mine who has mentioned that her partner seemed to have more to talk about in messaging apps, leaving them blank and bored when they met up in person.

How do we feel about this, guys?

Are messaging applications taking away our humanity from us? Or is it actually keeping us more in touch with each other?

According to Tim Berners-Lee, the Web was “designed as a social effect – to help people work together – not as a technical toy.” This opens minds to the fact that ultimate, it was designed for communicating! But is it working? I’d say it is but we need to make sure that it works in a way that it does not drown the humanity in all of us.

But then again, if the internet is a human creation- then isn’t it also human?

Turnbull, S. (2018). Auto-ethnography: The networked home.

(DISNEY) television over the years

One of my very earliest memory of television was my budding obsession for Disney series’, this started very innocent and early- I had managed to convince my parents to get me Foxtel so I could have the whole Disney Channel 969776f1-03e8-492b-9d07-0ab3cebbbbf3.jpgand that, kids, was the biggest mistake they’ve ever made.

Following on the day we got Foxtel, my arrival to the sofa in our living room from school was always paired with the grabbing of the remote and tuning into whatever show was playing on Disney channel.

I remember distinctly that there were some shows that I did not like playing, and when those were playing I’d be watching a show I recorded during the time I was in school.

Lizzie_McGuire_Logo.jpg  MV5BMjI5NjUzMTcwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE3NzQxMDE@._V1_UY268_CR0,0,182,268_AL_.jpg open-uri20150422-12561-140nmit_a7a4c09d.jpeg MV5BMTQwNDY1OTIzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODk5NjA1MQ@@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_.jpg open-uri20150422-12561-w440zj_bc194833.jpeg 91uDE7O14EL._SL1500_.jpg

Dear God, I was a spoilt child.

It reached the point where I remember sitting in between my parents on the sofa and my mum would be feeding me my dinner. The only time I’d ever leave the screen is when my dad would make me do my homework.

I was always on that damn couch.

I could never understand how I still managed to be the smartest kid in my class that year.

This was before my short term fascination with Korean stuff came in, before I was more emerged in my iPad and began neglecting the television (my parents’ probably found peace in this as they could finally watch whatever).

Well that’s my experience with early television, and by God I can remember all of the shows that I loved. Disney Channel was life guys.

Eh, I also know that my memory is not that great so I could not dig even further back into the olden days- so I talked to my father about his experience with television:

What’s your very earliest memory of watching television?

  • “Black and white, when I was very little. Tom and jerry in black and white specifically, I’d be watching at home with my family of six. The films were so blurry and now it’s so clear.”

Me: How did you and your family watching television change throughout the years?

  • “The quality got better and television is always getting better, bigger and thinner. There is more choices. I’d always be watching television by sitting around the lounge room, from with my three brothers and now with my wife and occasionally my daughter (<3).”

Me: Has something shown on television, such as the news, ever moved you emotionally? If so, what was it and how?

  • “Yes. Normally about the real stories, they impact me. Movies or dramas based on real stories.”

Me: What’s your favourite show now?

  • “I like to watch adventure channels but nowadays I’ve been watching this Turkish comedy, I forgot the name of it.”

Me: Is there still a television in your living room that is used regularly or have you too began using a more modern form of technology?

  • “I still use my television – now it’s just a smart TV as opposed to the bulkier and bad quality televisions. I am shamed to admit that I watch too much Netflix. I occasionally use my mobile phone to watch short news stories.”