Riitta Tammi (née Perälä)
- Aalto University
- Department of media
|Work history||Audience development specialist (The Finnish Science Center)
Project researcher (Media Concepts Research Group, Aalto University)
Media education specialist (The Finnish Periodical Publishers' Association)
Engagement in the fragmented media landscape
Media are fragmenting, boundaries between genres are blurring and the same content can be found across platforms. Audiences use media in new and autonomous ways. Therefore audience research needs new methods to reach the sliding audiences (Napoli 2010). In my PhD project I am interested in readers’ and users’ and engagement with media. My research question is: What are the elements of engagement? In marketing research engagement is often defined as something quantitative that can be measured exactly e.g. clicks (Napoli 2010). However, in my thesis I want to shift the viewpoint to users and readers and the meanings they give to media use and specific titles. Peck and Malthouse (2011) define engagement as a set of experiences that the user has with a specific media title, such as “Identity Experience” or “Utilitarian Experience”, but they lack the dimension of spatial media practices. I collected two sets of research material in order to examine media practices and engagement with media in users’ everyday life. The methods used were online media diaries, Q method interviews and observation of time and place of media use. The participant groups were 16–19 year old lead-user teenagers and 25–40 year old adults. It was shown that media use is highly fragmented: personal media landscapes contain tens of media titles. YouTube and Facebook are important for both age groups. YouTube is used for entertaining and informational purposes, and Facebook offers peer discussions about news. It was also clear that the actual media practices play an important role. There is a so-called social floor plan at homes that affects when, where and with whom media is used. Combining methods was useful. Each method showed different time and space aspects of media use: online diaries recorded the daily media routines, whereas observation exposed the immediate and spatial media practices. Q interviews helped to clarify the relations between the tens of titles. Collecting research material continues in spring 2013: the third participant group is 45–55 year old women and the fourth research method will be reading-out-loud, as the focus is in women’s magazines. Napoli, P. M. (2010). Audience Evolution. New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences. New York: Columbia University Press. Peck, A., & Malthouse, E. C. (2011). Medill on media engagement. Creskill: Hampton Press, Inc.