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What Does Friend Mean to You?
by Max Jones

Author Statement

The purpose of the ethnographic video, “What Does Friend Mean to You,” is to explore the
meaning of friends and friendship in a collection of college students and analyze how those
relationships change as the students progressively grow older. The project studied a group of
people to try and gather the meaning of friends as it pertains to college students, both lower and
upper classmen. The project overall was to truly explore the meaning of friend and examine if it
changes as one grows older. 

When I was first a freshman at the University of Michigan, entering into a large university, I was met by a welcoming group of people that I now call some of my closest friends. My motivation for this piece was to analyze a collection of students and decide if they too felt the same way I did when I arrived at the University. Moreover, I chose videography as a medium for the topic because I felt it was the best way for the audience to see and feel emotion. I decided to try to invoke an emotional response because when talking about friendship, emotions are normally linked with the topic. In the video, I utilize a variety of music and video in order to draw a specific emotional response from the audience. My intent was to show how college students change as they progress through college. Hopefully, the audience will also have the ability to reflect and see how they have grown and how they have changed with respect to friends and friendship.

Overall, the project took approximately two weeks to complete. I conducted fifteen interviews, which took a total of ten minutes per interview. During the process, I used a standard video camera, a tripod, and an audio recorder. Additionally, I decided to conduct fifteen interviews in order to collect as much evidence as possible, in order to accurately show the progression of the meaning of friendship. I then utilized Apple’s iMovie to make all of the edits and compile the video. I chose iMovie due to its easy to use interface. Overall, the ethnographic research project was very interesting. As I was conducting the research, I learned a lot about the research process as a whole, along with what friendship meant to me. Finally, I also hope that those who view this project will be able to reflect about their own experiences and discover what friendship means to them as well.

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