Latest Entries »

Marshall McLuhan Photo courtesy of Nelson Thall/ Marshall McLuhan Center on Global Communications

The legacy of Marshall McLuhan is so beyond me that I couldn’t use my own words to describe him. He has made a profound impression on the world and the digital media aspect of it. While researching him, I have come across descriptions of Mr. McLuhan such as “Guru of digital media” and “Master.”

“McLuhan provoked both the intellectual and the commoner…by saying that commercials are worth studying; that other cultures from other times offer the best insights into our modern technology laden lifestyle; that in recalling the lost original uses of old media we begin to recover their possible inventive value. His flabbergastingly direct statements and outrageous comparisons of media and their after-effects have stimulated many reexaminations of the consequences of digital multimedia. Marshall concluded we are emerging as a world-wide society electronically connected in a global village where our personalities exist at the speed of light” (Beaulieu 1.)

Hot and Cold Media

Marshall McLuhan divided media into two categories, Hot and Cool. Hot media requires little audience participation or exertion of energy. Cool media is the exact opposite; it is the term for high involvement in the media from the audience, within mediums such as television.

Why should communications Students learn about Mr. McLuhan?

McLuhan challenged media. He was controversial and unconventional. He took a close look at media and how it related to the human experience. In his book, The Medium is the Massagehe examines how media changes the way we as humans view life and the way it affects our everyday rituals.

Famous Quotes?

“A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion.”

My understanding of this quote is a society that has members who essentially have no opinion or do not care about ‘social ritual’, maybe watching television or listening to the radio need guidelines or a map to know what to do in certain situations.

“A typewriter is a means of transcribing thought, not expressing it.”

The only way to express thoughts is through spoken word.

What do I think of Mr. McLuhan?

Marshall McLuhan sounds like an astounding man, but I don’t understand anything that he was talking about. If I were around when Marshall McLuhan came up with his theories and I would have gone crazy. I can honestly say that this is the hardest blog that I have ever had to write. Marshall McLuhan may have been an important figure in the development of digital media, but his way of thinking and the way he speaks goes right over my head.

While researching McLuhan, I kept trying to figure out what it was that he did that was so astounding and I can honestly say that I still have no clue. It seems as though he just wowed society with his play on words. His level of thinking was on a completely different playing field than everyone else’s, from what I have learned of him. In order for a person to thoroughly understand Mr. McLuhan, I strongly believe that there should be a course focused entirely on his life and his accomplishments in order for someone to get a complete understanding of him.

Works Cited

Beaulieu, Mark. “Who was Marshall McLuhan?” Digital Lantern. Web. 1 Nov. 2010

Advertisements

Digital Influence

I’ve recently run out of shampoo and conditioner and I have been wonder what brand I should buy. I’ve been told that the salon brands are the best. The problem is that there are so many brands out there on the market that I don’t know which one to choose from. That was until I read “Redken Video Game Beckons Girls to Hair Salons,” by Kayleen Schaefer. Most salon styling products do not use advertising. The consumer knows the quality of the product from getting serviced in the salons. That has changed in regards to Redken.

Redken has come up with a completely new way of advertising their products; through video games. Nintendo, as of Tuesday, November 2, has launched the newest and most unconventional role-playing game. It’s called Busy Scissors and is targeted at girls between the ages of eight to sixteen. With the launch of this game, Redken hopes that teenagers will put down the at-home, drug store products and begin coming to the salon to get their hair done.

Redken plans to advertise this product at their salons. Customers will be able to play the game while waiting to be seen. They will also be giving opportunities for customers to win the game, or even a Wii console. According to the article, the main “hurdle to get over” is the fact that the game is on a console, not online. If the game were to be online, consumers could establish a network with other users.

This was a very innovative and clever way for Redken to advertise, versus just using the products in the salons. This way, girls can have the products at home with them and actually use them, in the video game that is. When girls play this video game and are able to see the variety of products and how they work, they will be more inclined to want to have the very same products used on their hair.

Companies and brands are constantly looking for ways to better advertise their products. Based on what has been discussed in class lately, Redken has taken the best one of the smartest steps toward selling their products. This decision is one that media professionals should pay close attention to, especially competitive salon products. Not only are Redken’s products going to be in the salons but at the hands of teenagers as well, in their homes. Not to mention that the Busy Scissors market is aimed directly at generation y.  I would buy it.

I predict that in the future, there will fames for every career under the sun. Redken is encouraging teens to become stylists and use their products. Soon, there will be games for people who want to be therapist or psychologists. They will be able to learn how to talk to their patients and how to diagnose them. It would not surprise me to see video games like these involved in the curriculum of many majors in college. It is the best way to get a first-hand experience without actually getting the hands-on practice.

 

The first time that I saw this commercial it stuck with me. Maybe it was because I could relate to everything that the actress was saying. Maybe it is because I actually use the product. Or maybe it is because I liked her hair and wanted to get mine cut just like hers. Or maybe it is because she is a woman and like all women we have periods.

The commercial was an advertisement for U by Kotex, a new line of tampons. In the commercial, the actress talks about how being on her period makes her feel. She is clearly lying about every aspect of being on her period. The ad is basically a satire of every other tampon commercial that exists. Most commercials advertising tampons or “women’s” product always try to make women feel as though being on their period is easy or carefree. The truth is; it is not. Ask any woman; being on your period is a ‘pain in the back’. Literally.

Is this Commercial Deceiving?

Considering the fact that during the commercial, U by Kotex never demonstrates how well their product works, customers could view this as puffery. They do not compare their product to the leading brands, so how are customers supposed to know what to expect when they purchase the product? I didn’t know what to expect when I bought the product. I was intrigued by how colorful the product was. The ad does do a good job at making their product seem as though it is different from the rest. Majority of the commercial is spent convincing their target market that other products cannot compare. At the very end of the commercial less than five seconds is spent introducing the product.

What are they Really Selling?

What does using U by Kotex products do for a woman? Do they provide comfort? Are they reliable? Based on the commercial, their product is selling the reality of what it is a really like for a woman to be on her period. Every statement that the actress makes is a lie. By the third day of my period I want to take a ‘personal time off’ day from the world and everyone and everything in it. The last thing on my mind is dancing. And I wish that the ads that showed the blue liquid were accurate; that would make my period a lot more enjoyable.

Ad Placement

The first time that I saw this particular commercial, it was on YouTube. I have had the opportunity to see the other U by Kotex commercials on television though. The ads come on mostly during shows that teenagers and women between the ages of 15-25 would be watching. I watch ABC Family a lot and TBS. U by Kotex have found a unique way to sell their products by acknowledging the fact that periods are not fun.

Because I purchased the product before I saw any of the ads on television I cannot give an accurate account of how the commercials influenced me to buy the product but, I have yet to purchase another product since U by Kotex.

Who is this Man?

As I walk in the room and make my way to my seat, in my mind, I’m thinking,

“I thought we were having a guest speaker…?” Due to the absence of another professor, I figured that he had cancelled on us. But, before I knew it the door opened and appeared a man, an old man, in an electric wheelchair. The first thought that came to my mind was that he was either injured or had just had surgery. Turned out he had polio. I’d never met anyone with polio before, so one could guess that I was excited to meet him. So, I pulled out my laptop and figured that I would type my notes as he spoke. I thought that it would be easier to write my blog that way. But, before I could get too excited he yelled,

“PUT THAT LAPTOP AWAY!” I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me, he wasn’t looking at me. I was so confused. But, I put my laptop away. Then I grabbed my cell phone and replied to a text. He then said,

“IF I SEE ANYONE WITH A LAPTOP OPEN OR A CELL PHONE OUT, I WILL ASK YOU TO LEAVE THE ROOM…I’m old fashioned!” I thought to myself, this man is psycho. At the same time I asked myself, who is this man?

He was Rift Frounier. I wasn’t sure what he taught. I was still ‘tripping’ off of the fact that he was so mean! I didn’t know what to expect his presentation to be about. I thought it was going to be boring. His first impression made me not want to pay him any attention.

He began his speech by telling us to draw something we had never seen. I did not know what to do. I just started with what looked like some sort of shape with light bulbs going around it. During his entire speech I drew. I don’t think I comprehended most of what he said because I was so busy drawing.

He told us a lot of stories about how he came to be where he is today. He talked about the many times that he changed careers and told us that our generation was going to do the same. I remember hearing the jokes he told, some of them, and I remember him telling us, in so many words that we need to take advantage of our education. That was my favorite part. Everyone needs a reminder of why they are in college, every now-and-then. I think that his demeanor was perfect for the message that he conveyed. We needed to have someone come yell at us. We needed a wake-up call. I know I did. It worked.

The Times Are Changing

The article that I chose to review was, Media Writer at the Post is Headed to a Website written by Jeremy W. Peters. Peters informs readers about the movement of Howard Kurtz, an employee of the Washington Post who is leaving his position there to work for a news and commentary website, created by Tina Brown, The [Daily] Beast

 

Howard Kurtz (Image: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

 

.

This article initially caught my attention because we always talk about how media is changing or has changed overtime, but I don’t believe I actually been a part of the change. To read that employees are leaving their job positions to be a part of something that will shape the future astonishes me. It makes me feels as though I’m a part of this change because I was old enough to witness and understand it.

According to Peters, this is what Kurtz had to say about leaving the Washington Post during a phone interview:

“The Post remains a terrific newspaper, but it [has] to find ways to do more with less, and that certainly affects the atmosphere…”

Based on that comment, Mr. Kurtz seems to see himself as an important commodity. But, the show must go on, and it will, with or without Mr. Kurtz. If this trend continues, a lot of companies like the Washington Post will be forced to accept the fact that they will lose their employees.

This article ties into class discussion because we have recently covered the history of print and how it has advance over the years. This article is a perfect example of the evolution of the newspaper. Nowadays, it is simple to log on to a website and read the daily news. People are no longer buying the paper or their magazine from a stand; they read them online. Soon enough, more professionals like Kurtz will decide to transfer to a web-based newspaper or magazine. When that time comes, the stands will, most definitely cease to exist.

I’m quite sure many media professionals’ eyes grew large when they read the headline of this article. It probably made them wonder which of their employees were going to leave them. Editors of magazines and newspapers alike should watch their backs because the internet is slowly creeping up and stealing their thunder. Not to mention that reading articles on the internet is free.

After reading this article one may find themselves wondering how these companies make money if their content is free and available for anyone to read. Someone has to wonder whether Kurtz is making more money at The Beast versus The Washington Post. The question Mr. Kurtz will soon have to ask himself will be,

“Was it worth it?” Only time can tell. And chances are, in the future, Kurtz will not have time to second guess any of his decisions because the younger generations will be coming to take over.

Generation Y should also pay attention and understand that if they want to be an editor or journalist, because the internet is the ‘hot spot’. With the technology level of generation y the future web-based newspapers will be top-notch. There is a possibility that those within generation y will chose to stick with the old-fashioned newspaper. With the potential of generation y, they might offer customers something on the newsstands that the internet can’t. But, once again, only time will tell.

Currently people still buy newspapers, but it is a fact that fewer and fewer people can be seen drinking their coffee and reading the news like they used to. Now the coffee shops are filled with customers and their personal laptops.

Interview with a Ghanaian

Theophilus A. Biney (Theo), a Ghanaian, had a lot to say about how he thought Ghana was different from the United States when it comes to media.

Radio

According to Theo, radio back in Ghana is more censored. Compared to the radio stations here in America that advertise entertainment such as clubs, Ghana radio stations focus more so on the education of children. Their radio stations provided the children with educational sessions. Their rappers and artist focus their lyrics on how children should be submissive to their parents and how their “books” should come first. Ghana has what is called the Hip-Hop Life or the High Life which depicts their culture. You will only find nine radio stations in every region in Ghana. They are all competitive in the aspects of what each station has to offer their listeners. Theo informed me that most radio stations come together to form a television station.

Television

Stations such as Skyy Power and Radio Maxx can be seen on the televisions in Ghana. These stations show mainly international media. Shows such as MTV Cribs and the Video Music Awards broadcast on these stations. In his country if one were to cut on the television, they would find mostly European stations being aired. In general Ghana focuses less on entertainment and more on informative pieces of information. Theo provided me with a daily schedule of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC):

6:00am-8:00am—Breakfast show (news)

8:00am-10:00am—Gospel (encouraging what behavior is expected of the nation)

10:00am-12:00pm—Animal Kingdom (Discovery Channel)

12:00pm-3:30pm—News

3:30pm-6:00pm—Children’s Education (one hour of cartoons)

6:00pm-7:00pm—Soap Operas/Television Sitcoms

7:00pm-8:00pm—News

8:00pm-10:00pm—African Movies

10:00pm—News

There are no “info-mercials” because in Ghana, they deal more so with cash not credit cards. Dealing with credit cards would mean that a person is purchasing outside of the country. Ultimately, television is for adults.

Magazines

To start off Theo made it a point to let me know that there is no Ghanaian pornography. Any pornography that is in Ghana is from America. The magazines that were mentioned were Showbiz, 4Syte, and Metro. Showbiz is their celebrity magazine. Metro focuses on transportation and advertises vehicles that are for sale.

Music

“Hip-Hop is for Americans!”

Music is mainly in their local languages which are either Fante or Twi. People who are educated will rap or sing in British English. In Ghanaian music they do not use profanity as much as Americans do. They like to “practice what they preach”. In battles they don’t rap about shooting and stealing. They rap about their goals, where they want to see themselves in the future. In their music videos, Theo says that they are trying to be more like Americans. They have “bling” and girls “shaking their booties.” Their videos tell the story of the songs.

Books

Textbooks and library books are printed mainly in British English. They use the tales such as Anansi the Spider in a lot of their stories to teach lessons. In elementary education the books that are used are written and printed in Ghana. When students reach high school the books that are used are written and printed by all of West Africa.

Movies

As far as movies shown on television, Ghanaian movies can be shown before 10:00pm but American movies are considered “Late Night” and are shown after 10:00pm due to sexual scenes and their ratings. In theaters only one movie is released at a time, unlike America where we have sometimes can have up to twenty movies showing in one theater. In Ghana the movie theaters don’t really prosper because they have DVDs with eighteen movies on them. Theo says that the DVDs cost twice as much as the theater but people would rather spend money on the DVDs because they get a larger quantity.

Websites

Websites based on Ghana are focused on the economy and politics. Examples for these websites include: Ghanaweb.com and BigX.gh.com. Majority of their websites serve as informational systems for tourists.

Any Surprises?

With disgust Theo responds to my question, “What surprised you about Media here in the United States?” He told me that media her makes kids say any kind of filthy language to their parents. He goes on to say that certain languages should not be encouraged and media using this language should be cancelled. He expressed his opinion that American media shows anything and everything. He also stated that people here focus on people’s personal lives too much, not what will benefit society. He used Tiger Wood’s story as support for that statement.

Assumptions of Americans

He thought that America was perfect because we depict places such as Las Vegas and Hollywood in our media. We don’t show all of the shootings and killings that occur daily. He goes on to say that a lot of Americans are ignorant in the fact that he thought that we knew about Africa just as he knew about America. When he came here he learned that everyone was not rich or “well-off” and he said that he could live more comfortably in Africa because the cost of living is not as high there as it is in America.

Image from Flickr photo sharing

Reading this article reminded me of a particular situation. I was just having a conversati0on with my friend the other day about how much money is lost through pirating. I told her that film producers would benetfit from allowing audience to wath new theater releases directly form their home. I believe that if they allowed us to pay for a service to catch the new flicks instead of a crowded theater then, illegal pirating would be cut down.

After reviewing “YouTube Ads turn Videos into Revenue” I see that YouTube is almost at that point itself. The site is profiting  from showing sneak peaks television series. The article is basically about the smart turning points that YouTube have made in the last four to five years. The article states multiple times the fact the the company is definitely making profit.

Claire Cain Miller, author of the essay, notes that the fourteen percent of the two billion viewers that watched the Mad Men video clip was “enough to turn YouTube profitable this year.” Soon enough, the website will be showing full length movies and people will not need to order or rent a movie.

While reading the article, I was surprised to learn that Google had bought YouTube. That makes sense to me though because when a person types in a field in the search box, YouTube videos are automatically apart of the results. What also caught my attention was the fact that YouTube will bring in a revenues of about 240million just this year. I almost feel as though the account holders on the site should be reaping some of those benefits, After all, they are the ones posting the videos.

YouTube will probably always be apart of media. It is so young and has so much potential. Just as we have been discussing in class, media is always changing and converging.  As a media focused professional, teachers and professors even refer to YouTube videos as a part of their lectures or presentations. Also because the website use useful for advertisements, I’m sure other professionals would not want to lose money over copywrite issues.

With incoming Generation Y media professionals loading up the workplace, I’m quite sure that YouTube will be found in the workplace. Generation Y is always finding a way to make the workplace more efficient for them. Soon enough workplace tutorials and lectures will be posted on YouTube; maybe even Monday Morning Meetings.

According to the article, YouTube has plans for the allowance of watching Pay-Per-View events.  Overall, the article delivered a lot of facts worth knowing about how much money YouTube makes off of some of its most minor offerings. Y0uTube is growing and I believe it will soon converge to replace television.

The first thought that comes to me after reviewing this study is that the usage of media can be limited simply by increasing parent/family involvement in how Generation M2 use media. Times have changed drastically since I was a child. I was literally yelled at when i asked for a cell phone at the age of fourteen. Nowadays, children ten to thirteen years old are “texting too much.” Maybe my family was too strict on me, but I must say that when my sixteenth birthday came around, it wasn’t a car that I was happy to receive; it was a cell phone. I earned that cell phone through hard work and good grades.

What bothers me about the Kaiser Study is that there seems to be a question of “Why the children of Generation M2 spend so much time submerged in television, video games and other forms of media?” If they are so worried about how much media consumption children receive on a daily basis, then they should have a parenting seminar. It seems as though parents have forgotten how to enforce rules within their homes.

All the blame can be put on the parents. I believe that if parents would monitor their children’s usage of technology, whether it is internet or video games, then the youth would not be suffering intellectually. In addition, the reliance on media would be minimized. Soon enough it is going to be too late to enforce rules regarding the monitoring of technology usage because children will believe that it is a right not a privilege. As time continues to go on parents will begin to reprimand their children less in spite of the way that their parents raised them. If parents are not going to enforce rules on their children, then this generation will have to learn the hard way.

I’ve learned that once I log onto Facebook, homework is no longer a priority. I had to learn the hard way that answering one text while doing homework can easily become an entire conversation. I now force myself to stay away from Facebook and the internet in general, unless it is required for research. No one was there to tell me that too much of a good thing could be bad for me, so I had to teach myself.

Ultimately, I don’t believe that media usage is bad for children 8-18 years of age. The main issue that I have is that it is not moderated enough by a parent/guardian. Studies have shown that the latest generation is very technically advanced and that comes from listening to music and surfing the web etcetera. After hearing what these said kids have to say, I understand that multi-media tasking is something that they consider the ‘norm’. They don’t seem to have ever had it brought to their attention that too much media is bad for them.

These children are suffering. Their grades are suffering and their future children are going to suffer if these increasing trends in media use persist. The main consequence of being a part of Generation M2 is failure. Until parents see that it is the time spent texting and the hours spent playing video games that are causing failing grades, Generation M2 will fail.