EntertainStats Podcast

A one-time podcast about how popular Oscars are with MIT students. The podcast can be found on SoundCloud.

This podcast was created by Dijana, Maddie, Mika & Sruthi. It took just under 4 hours to discuss the idea, interview students, record and publish the podcast. (Monday 11:30 am – 3:15 pm)

Some behind the scenes pictures for entertainment purposes:

Discussing the idea ->

Interviewing students ->

Editing those audio recordings ->

Writing the podcast script ->

..And the reporters rehearse for podcast recording in our makeshift audio room (in between doors at the student center entrance) ->

 

Sruthi’s Media Diary

The big picture

By Tuesday (21st of Feb) early morning, I tracked about 5.5 days of media usage totalling about 46.6 hours. I used 4 distinct sources of technology – Macbook Air, iPhone, Echo and paper. I used RescueTime to track usage on my laptop, Moment app to track usage on my phone and my good ol’ brain for the rest.

Using a top down approach, following was my overall media usage broken down by category:

 Source: RescueTime, Moment and personal data collected; chart built using Plot.ly

My media usage amounts to about 35% of my day (46.6 hours out of 5.5 days tracked). I spend the rest of my day commuting (without using media), in class, meetings, running errands, socializing, working out and sleeping. Given sleeping forms a third of my day (7 hours per day), my media consumption though significant is not a very bad statistic.

Takeaway 1: Multiple media sources form the 35% daily average media usage for a multitude of tasks

From the smallest to the largest source of media consumption…

Echo (daily average ~ 10 minutes)

Echo has been primary news source in the last week. I listen to headlines and short articles from NY times, WSJ, BBC and Economist as I get ready for the day.

Usually I try to scroll through my NY times, WSJ and BBC phone apps but the usage has been minimal in the last week.My news app usage varies but I find myself needing 15-20 minutes to go through all my news apps during the morning but I haven’t allotted the time since being back to school. I usually listen to news podcasts (economist and WSJ) on my walk to school, but given the snow / weekends my podcast listening has been non-existent.

Takeaway 2: Consume news (mostly headlines) during commute / multi-tasking

Print Media (daily average ~ 1-2 hours)

My print media usage is usually restricted for class readings – articles and cases. Given I am taking 5 courses this semester, all of which are qualitative, it makes sense to read 1-2 hours on a daily basis to prepare for my average 2 classes per day.

Takeaway 3: Print media restricted for coursework ~ associating print with serious media consumption

iPhone (daily average ~ 1.6 hours)

While on average my iPhone usage is around 1.6 hours per week, following is a snapshot of my phone usage for a single day which is reflective of my day-day consumption. I learnt a lot about my phone usage habits and they were pretty consistent with my love of productivity and addictive Instagram usage habits.

 

Using Moment app on my iPhone, I was able to track app usage by minute, location and time of day. Following is a snapshot for last Monday (20th Feb):

1. Throughout the day, I check my phone 60 times, that means on average once every 17 minutes (excluding 7 hours for uninterrupted sleep time) … clearly a sign of addiction. I used the phone, per check, anywhere from 2 minutes to 44 minutes with a median of 3 minutes, which reflects my fairly short attention span.

2. Home screen – I spend majority of my time using the home and lock screen, which is where I receive alerts from my various news apps. This indicates my sad habit of consuming news headlines in terms of alerts (I mostly get updates from news apps and outlook and check my phone periodically as my phone is always on night mode).

3. Productivity, productivity, productivity apps – sweat, outlook, weather, notes, app store – my focus has been on working out, emailing / checking calendar, taking quick notes, checking weather and getting more apps to improve my productivity. I am not surprised or shocked by the usage numbers given I feel I am at a minimal time per app.

4. Social networking – Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp – my Instagram usage is alarming. I have a preference for visual media consumption especially given my interest in following influencers in food, travel, health and fitness space. I feel Instagram is best suited to connect with influencers and brands I like.

Takeaway 4: Spend time reading in-depth investigative news articles rather than consuming news updates

Macbook (daily average ~ 3.8 hours)

I primarily love using my laptop the most because of the screen space and find it most convenient to use the laptop for both work and entertainment.

  1. Too much entertainment – According to my RescueTime dashboard, I spend 40% of my time on entertainment and rest on more productive applications like outlook and excel. Following is a screenshot of my overall usage last week by top applications used:Source: RescueTime dashboard
  2. Timeline analysis – I created the following heatmap for my three main categories (entertainment, communication and design) to understand my hourly usage patterns across the last few days. The richer the color, the more time spent in that category.

Source: RescueTime data; heatmap built with excel

My main takeaway from my usage indicates that I have productive work hours from 9 am till 8 pm and during the rest of the time I waste my time consuming Netflix for entertainment purposes.

Takeaway 5: Give up Netflix!!!!

Overall, I notice my media consumption is very self-centered in serving my own interests. I would be curious to learn how to a non-participatory citizen, such as myself, to be influenced by subjects outside my interest areas and how these topics could enrich my life.

Quick data visualizations

The need for data visualization

With the growth in trend of buzz words like big data, data science etc, the general interest in expecting data as proof is becoming the norm amongst readers. Additionally, growing popularity of blogs like FiveThirtyEight, reporting is slowly moving towards becoming more data oriented. Therefore, the onus now lies on the media content producers to use advanced data analysis to make their points. However, analyzing data is complicated and even harder to communicate but could be done effectively by using data visuals.

Conducting my research on the topic of easy data visualizations, I noticed that majority of the recommendations revolved around using programming languages like R, python etc. Learning how to code is a mammoth task for writers whose main focus is on researching and delivering the story and not learning how to code. Writers need a tool that helps them analyze data and build visuals with a few clicks. A tool like Plot.ly.

What is plot.ly?

Plot.ly addresses the user challenge of creating data visualizations without having heavy knowledge of programming and data visualization techniques. Plot.ly’s website and blog showcase a number of samples on how leading news sites have used Plot.ly visualizations in their articles. For example, below is a sample visual showing statistical analysis in a NYTimes article:

Source: NYTimes 2014 Article – How birth year influences political views

Some of my favorite tools on the platform (image below) are:

  • Ability to use excel layout to input data and pick from over 20 different chart types
  • Creating charts which enable reader interaction
  • Using statistical analysis tools like ANOVA on a web-based platform
  • Reverse coding, enables users to get the code behind the visualizations incase users want to create the same visuals using other programming languages

What does data visualization mean for advancing journalism?

In my opinion, I think Plot.ly helps advance journalism and storytelling by:

  • Saving time for writers by freeing up time for constructing and presenting stories instead of wasting time and resources on visual designers. Additionally, enabling journalists to publish stories as fast as possible.
  • Increasing interactions with readers. It has become harder and harder to engage readers through various types of media because of the declining attention span. Therefore, getting readers to engage readers through interactive visuals could help engage readers and help increase participation
  • Integrating diverse communities – Using technology platforms like Plot,ly could help increase interactions between diverse groups like technologists and journalists helping advance each other’s cause.

Plot.ly resources

Multiple tutorials are available on the webiste. From creating charts to data analysis using sample data sets.

Sruthi’s Bio

Hi, my name is Sruthi. I am a 2nd year MBA student at MIT Sloan and an engineer at heart. I have always been interested in understanding how technology can make a social impact. To be precise I am interested in how technology combined with business strategy could be used to make a social impact.

Prior to joining Sloan, I studied computer engineering and worked in fin-tech. Last summer, I interned as a data science intern at Microsoft, where I used data to influence internal strategy decisions. Combining my interest in both technology and strategy, I am going to be a future management consultant in the digital space.

I have always been fascinated with how news and media brings people on to a common platform to share their voices and identity. Given my interest in the social sector, I am taking this class to understand how the power of media can mobilize people behind a cause. My personal goals for the class are to:

  • Enter my stretch zone by utilizing more of the right side of my brain
  • Become more of an active contributor using media
  • Work with an interdisciplinary group of people (I was very impressed with the cultural and intellectual diversity in the class)
  • Understand how to use media / understand the power of media to engage global citizens

Apart from my “slightly obvious” skills in programming (Matlab, R etc), I like to travel and try/cook multi-cultural cuisines. I am coffee and chocolate snob and occasionally addicted to Instagram.

You can find me on: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram