My data visualization project was a cartoon that I created utilizing the software/website PowToons. The actual material conveyed is fairly straightforward, as I am analyzing the ways in which the meditation application Headspace utilizes different techniques to effectively share meditation. Since effectively is very vague term, especially when applied in media studies, I specifically looked at what techniques the application utilizes to cause users to continuously return to the app. I especially highlighted how meditation applications give users a “way of performing certain activities that differentiates them from more conventional ones and ties this difference into a group’s ultimate reality (Forbes).” For Headspace particularly, creators utilize the procedural affordances of their application to give users a safe haven of peace and mindfulness outside of their typical busy and stressful lives. Tools such as gamification, or the use of game-like features in non-game spaces, also create this separate space; users will then feel a sense of dedication and urgency to return to their space of calm with the extra incentive to compete with friends, keep up their meditation streak, and/or level up on scoreboards. Although this technique itself does not seem mindful, it certainly causes meditators to learn how to deepen their meditative practice.
I decided to convey the information in this way because I felt that the cartoon would make academic information very accessible. The video format creates bite-sized chunks of information which makes it easier to absorb. I have published the cartoon on my YouTube channel Good Vibe Tribe, which is dedicated to holistic wellness; this will give some of my followers, even if just a few people, access to this information. I hope anyone who watches learns about the inner workings of meditation applications like Headspace. These individuals may also learn about other similar types of media that use these techniques, as gamification and ritualization are certainly utilized elsewhere.
Forbes, Bruce David. Religion and Popular Culture in America 3rd Edition. University of California Press, 2017. Emory University Database, web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.emory.edu/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzE0NDY3MDRfX0FO0?sid=3298055e-d14e-4a65-ad07-757a6d482547@sessionmgr4007&vid=0&format=EK&lpid=ch_10&rid=0. Accessed 3 Mar. 2018.