I visited Bryant Park located in New York to observe the interaction and people’s media use. Bryant Park is a public space with various exciting amenities where people and families go for a picnic and to relax. The park has restaurants and cafes, playgrounds, reading areas and lawns for relaxing. The park has a unique and interesting public space layout and design that is suitable for relaxing and spending some time. I observed people interacting and using various types of media including newspapers, laptops, novels, mobile phones, and tablets in different parts of the park. Therefore, this paper analyzes the observation made on the interaction and use of media by the people in Bryant Park.
In the cafeteria at Bryant Park, I observe some people who were taking lunch while using their mobile phones. As they ate, most of them kept texting on their phones all the time from the time they entered the cafeteria until the time they left. They showed some social cues as they used their phones. One of the social cues I noted was the facial expressions that they gave while using their mobile phones. For instance, there was a lady who was seated alone taking lunch while busy texting with her phone. Every time she threw a glance at her phone, she would smile. At some point, she would laugh out loud when she was using her phone. I also noted some differences in the vocal tones of the people when talking on their mobile phones. A certain old man who was sitting in a corner of the cafeteria talked in a loud tone when making a conversation through his mobile phone. Contrary, another lady in the cafeteria whose phone rang and answered it, talked in a low tone as she seemed to be shy.
I observed that 90% of the people in the cafeteria overused their mobile phones while they were eating. This is because mobile phones are reachable and accessible. Reaching out for a mobile phone from the pocket is easy, effortless and very convenient. I observed them dipping their hands into their pockets and removing their mobile phone. It was quick, effortless and did not cause any convenience to activities they were going on with. I also observe a certain man using a laptop. The interactivity between the man and the laptop was topnotch as the man was so glued and focused on his laptop as he kept typing. The laptop caught his attention fully that he ended up forgetting to eat his food.
On the park’s lawn, there were so many people seated in various parts of the lawn under shades while some were sleeping on the grass. I noticed a number of people who were reading novels. They were so silent and focused as they read. I observed a certain woman who was seated next to me reading the book while sipping some fruit juice. I would notice her facial expression as she read. She sometimes would smile and at some point grin. Some people were reading newspapers while seated on some benches in the resting area. I also observed some people walking around with headphones on their ears playing music from their phones. I noticed the convenience they had using their phones listening while walking freely around the park. For instance, I observed a certain boy skating while holding his phone in his hand as he listened to the music playing in his headphones.
Based on my observation, I noted that there are some similarities and differences in the way people behave as they use different types of media. In terms of interactivity, I noted that using mobile phones is more interactive than reading a novel. The level of interactivity influences the behaviour of the people using these media. I observed that the people reading novels and newspapers tend to be very serious, and focused and avoid distractions while reading. For the people using mobile phones, they tend to multitask, stay cool and easy and also engage themselves in other distractive activities.
In terms of social cues, people using mobile phones expresses facial expression more often and consistently than those reading novels and newspapers. I noted that people using mobile phones behave in a jovial manner. They tend to smile, grin and show a lot of facial expressions. They also tend to talk to themselves while texting. On the other hand, people reading novels and newspapers tend to also smile, get agitated, or even get surprised. The interaction between people using mobile phones and those reading novels and newspapers is different in terms of mobility. I observed that those using mobile phones interact with their phones conveniently. They use mobile phones in any place, at any time even when moving around. For the people reading novels and newspapers, I observed that their interaction with the novels and newspapers is limited and constrained by motion. They cannot read while walking. They can only read when they are stationary. They only read under certain favourable conditions.
The temporal structure of mobile phones makes them convenient to use and carry around; therefore, people using mobile phones tend to interact with their phones more than those reading novels and newspapers. Mobile phones are small in size making them easier to be used anywhere and be carried around. The temporal structure of novels and newspapers is quite bulky which makes it inconvenient to carry around and use anywhere. This minimizes the interaction between the people and the novels and newspapers. In my observation, I noted that most people preferred reading softcopy newspapers and novels on their phones instead of reading hardcopy newspapers and novels because their temporal structure creates the convenience of use. For instance, I observed a man who was reading the New York Times newspaper online on his phone.
Interaction with media is impacted by the media’s storage. Mobile phones are small in size and are stored in pockets, therefore, facilitating and improving the rate of interaction between the user and the phone itself. On the other hand, novels and newspapers are big in size and cannot be stored in pockets; this causes inconvenience thus lowering the rate of interaction between the user and the novel or newspaper. Literally, I observed the interaction of people who used mobile phones to be more than for those who were reading novels and newspapers as I noted that those using mobile phones used their phones even while walking and stored their phones in their pockets which they would easily reach for it when need be.
To sum up, people interact with media a lot. Based on my observation, plays a significant role in peoples life as it influences their behavior. Interaction between the user and the media differs with the type of media. I came to a conclusion that mobile phones are the most used media by people currently. Generally, media is part of people’s lives today and influences their behavior significantly.