Recently in another stroke of mandatory University genius I was required to create a podcast.
I must say that upon reading that I was required to record myself talking for up to 6 minutes, a little bit of this happened….
I mean, how hard could this be ? I talk more than that in my sleep.
Turns out , I wasn’t allowed to talk about whatever I wanted …
After a quick regroup, I contemplated the list and settled on ‘Digital Media and The Digital Divide’. I felt it would be the best fit for theBside.
But what EXACTLY should I focus on? …
After a lot of pondering, tweeting and reading about the digital divide, I remembered my rural roots, my experience as a Social Worker and my own mental health journey. I also use Facebook. A lot. So my eventual focus arose from this melting pot.
I wanted to highlight that digital inclusion remains out of reach for many, and that this can have significant mental health consequences. And, I wanted to explore whether online support can provide a sense of belonging and connection which is protective, in the context of rural Australia’s mental health crisis.
Strategies I used to create this podcast, also included listening to rural and mental health podcasts to learn from the content and formats simultaneously. I also conducted a Facebook poll; did phone interviews and probably read a bit too much.
How engaging could I be?
In order to achieve some balance within significant time constraints, I used quotes and paraphrasing from the scholarly readings which provided a basis for my arguments. These articles gave me an initial framework from which to springboard in the areas of loneliness, rural digital inclusion and social connectedness via Facebook. I padded this out with some anecdotal qualitative feedback which I used as a vocal soundbyte and another quote later in the podcast. I referred repeatedly to the initial case study character of Ellen as an anchor for continuity, and to aid listener retention via a story telling technique.
But did I ACTUALLY know how to record a podcast?
Um, not at all. Yet after a lot of Uni video tutorials, youtubing and talking to my classmates and kids, my voice was finally recorded via the Ableton program and professional microphone we have at home.
The telephone call was recorded via Audacity and then added to the Ableton recording. I selected a free creative commons Australian bird sample recording for the intro and outro sounds because I wanted to create a sense of being in the country. I also used my son’s midi keyboard to play the ambient piano in the background to soften my voice. And finally, a photo I took recently on my parents farm for the cover image.
Learning By Doing strikes again!
I did take the advice of a classmate to record and time one of my previous assignments, which was initially helpful. However, I kept forgetting this and getting lost in the plethora of research I’d done. My first reading took nine and a half minutes. Not ideal. It took me hours to edit it down to the six – ish I ended up with. It was hard to strike the balance between making my arguments, and keeping it all engaging enough. I felt that I couldn’t edit it further without losing one or the other. Next time, I will pay closer attention to writing with the end in mind and try to achieve it all with less chocolate.
Anyway, here it is!
Abs.gov.au. (2019). 8146.0 – Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2016-17. [online] Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/8146.0 [Accessed 16 May 2019].
Andreasson, K. (2015). Digital divides. London: Routledge, p.xxi.
Cowling, D. (2019). Social Media Statistics Australia – March 2019. [online] Socialmedianews.com.au.
Digitalinclusionindex.org.au. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 May 2019].
Handley, K. (2019). S2: E3 Loneliness – CRRMH.
CRRMH. Available at: https://www.crrmh.com.au/get-help-now/self-help-resources/podcasts/loneliness/ [Accessed 16 May 2019].
Hawkley, L. and Cacioppo, J. (2010). Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40(2), pp.218-227.
Park, S. (2017). Digital inequalities in rural Australia: A double jeopardy of remoteness and social exclusion. Journal of Rural Studies, 54, pp.399-407.
Sinclair, T. and Grieve, R. (2017). Facebook as a source of social connectedness in older adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, pp.363-369.