What does your use of this medium say about you, the choices you make, or the circumstances that you find yourself in?

Media Analysis Essay: My Personal Media Habits (1500)WORDS 

Everyone turns on a TV to watch shows, or uses a phone to call friends. Go beyond that; what role does this media form have in your life? To assess and understand how you use this media form, keep a daily journal that documents your activities with this medium.

This assignment is guided by the Uses and Gratifications Theory: people use media to satisfy their needs. This theory asks, “What do people do with media” rather than “What does media do to people?”

1) Observation and Description: Every single time you use this medium, answer at least these basic questions in a detailed entry to your journal:

–How many minutes or hours did I use it? Why that long? Why did I start, or stop using? –What are the circumstances in which I use it? Why then?
–Where am I using it? Why there?
–How was I feeling when I turned to it? When I stopped? –What other activities or behaviors seem to accompany my use of this media form?

Here is an example of what one journal entry might look like:

“Monday, 9/15/15. Turned TV on in living room at 4:30am. Why? Woke up, had trouble going back to sleep, thought TV would help me get back to sleep. Channel was on ESPN, left it there & scanned channel guide. Saw that “The Thing” was on HBO & turned to HBO. Watched “The Thing” until 5:30 when it ended. Switched back to ESPN while I washed face, brushed teeth, etc. Turned TV off at 6am. Why? Because I was heading out the door to get coffee. No special feelings noted, though watching TV did NOT help me go back to sleep, as I’d expected. Total time: 90 minutes. Channels watched: 2, one actively (HBO), the other as background (ESPN).”

2) Analysis: After carefully noting your media use for about 3 weeks, review your journal. Look for patterns in the behaviors and feelings you exhibited around your use of this medium. Are there patterns related to when you use, how you use, where you use, or why?

3) Interpretation: Now that you have identified your patterns of use, assess which are most important and why. Rank the patterns from most to least important, noting to yourself why you have ranked them this way.

4) Evaluation: Assess both the positive and negative consequences of the patterns of use and the reasons for use that you have identified. What do these patterns and reasons potentially say about your relationship with this media form? What do they tell you about yourself? Are your practices helping you reach your goals? Are they getting in the way? Both?

5) Engagement: Now that you have documented and examined your habit methodically, write the Media Analysis Essay.

How Do I Write The Media Analysis Essay?

The M.A. essay is your chance to present what you found in your journal in a concise, analytical, and reflective manner. There’s no “thesis” here, but the essay will have a specific structure, centered around the following 3 issues:

  1. A) Basic Information: Start with several key pieces of information. How much total time did you spend using the medium over 3 weeks? What was the average per week? Per day? Per use? Also, include a list of the places in which you used the medium in the last 3 weeks. Finally, this first section should include other useful data depending on your medium. If you chose texting, you should include the total number of texts sent and received, etc. All of this will help you and the reader put your media use in context.
  2. B) Your Patterns and Reasons for Use: A big part of this project is learning about your patterns of use—what are they? Explain them here, one at a time, in detail. How did you use this media form? Why did you use it in these ways? It may be tempting to talk about the content your media provides, but stay focused on YOU. The question isn’t about what content you consume, it’s about when, how, and why you choose to use media at all, ever. That has to do with YOU, not the content. What makes you use your media form in the ways that you do? (Pro Tip: When identifying and explaining your patterns, use the data on time, place, etc. to clarify each one. For example, “Out of my total of 20 hours of use, 5 hours were spent on the bus…”)
  3. C) Consequences: Now that you know what role this medium plays in your life, assess the consequences—both positive AND negative—of your specific patterns of use. Are your patterns and reasons for use helping you reach your goals, getting in the way, maybe both? What does your use of this medium say about you, the choices you make, or the circumstances that you find yourself in? Remember, this is about the consequences of YOUR specific ways of using the medium—not about the medium itself.

Essay Do’s and Don’ts:
This is an assessment and analysis of your media use over a 3-week period. Don’t try to start writing the essay until after 3 weeks of careful journal-writing. For some of you, current media use is tied to historical events or experiences. You can mention them here, but remember, this is about the last 3 weeks of your life so stay focused on that rather than giving a historical narrative of how TV made you who you are today, or whatever.




Discord is a proprietary freeware VoIP application and digital distribution platform designed for video gaming communities, that specializes in text, image, video and audio communication between users in a chat channel. Discord runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and in web browsers. Whenever I play games I will use the communication app discord at the same time so I could communicate easily with my friends/teammates.


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