There are many times when I am part of an audience even though I am by myself when I am watching. I enjoy viewing Foxtel on the TV and Netflix from my phone. I believe that these two different media forms have an impact on what kind of audience member I am.
Recently I was part of the audience watching ‘Married at first sight’ on the TV. Being in the comfort of my own home and in an open relaxed area made the experience more enjoyable as I could relax and speak my mind about what was happening without the worry of disturbing other people. In this situation I was an active audience member; I was being critical of peoples decisions to stay or leave and also applying what I saw to my own circumstances by expressing phrases such as “If that ever happened to me…” Being part of the audience made me feel as though I was emotionally invested in the show and once the program had ended the events would still stay in my mind throughout the rest of the day. However, a drawback to being part of a collective audience yet viewing the show on your own is that you do not get the input and banter of other audience members. I found myself wanting to share the experience and say things like “can you believe this”, yet there was no one around me to do so. This element did factor in a sense of loneliness and isolation into my audience experience.
While I was able to be an active audience member when viewing on the TV, I would say that I become a passive audience member when watching things on my phone, such as Netflix. While the positives of being in this audience includes portability and that I can be engaged right up to moment I fall asleep, there are many aspects that turn my audience experience into a submissive one. When viewing on my phone I feel as though the audience is just comprised of me and do not get the sense of a wider mentality. On occasions where I would usually laugh or chuckle out loud, I find myself only giving the hint of a smile or exhaling with a small amount of gusto. I do not question things I see, I simply allow myself to be taken by the show and fade into the background.
Having had two diverse media audience experiences, I believe that they are both suited to different situations and audience member desires. For entertainment and engagement I prefer being an active audience member, however if I wish to relax or kill time, then I don’t mind being a part of a passive audience.