Sunday, December 16, 2012

724 E/Media Psych/Final Print Ad

When I began to develop my final print ad, I had a tough time. I struggled with trying to put all that I've learned onto one page without it seeming overworked or overloaded with information. To accomplish this, I introduced a new social media technology to incorporate my learnings along with persuasive media.

I began with a digital citizen. As technology progresses, our digital citizens will start early. In this case, looking to the future, it's quite possible that digital citizenship will be introduced at birth. With the growth of new technology,  infants may be able to use to touch pads to stimulate and increase growth. Because of this, I introduced a social media site that could start as early as infancy. I chose to call it Chirp because it follows the same thread as Twitter and could be considered in the same "family." Chirp encompasses the "speak" of a young bird and because it's introduced at early age it represents a young infant.

If I act as a digital de-tech-tive and apply the tetrad to this technology, it's possible that it may exist sooner than we think. To be gained will be the visual and mental stimulation at infancy, the loss will be fake baby toys with phones, iPads, Leapfrog learning toys or Twitter. Using Twitter as the old or antiquated technology confirms that this moment will become obsolete in the next. If this is pushed beyond it's limit we may have anti-social individuals who cannot operate outside of a technical world. 

The ad also incorporates the importance of education. Because technology is growing at such a rapid pace, we need to educate our youth not only in our schools but our homes. It is important to teach responsible digital citizenship with a balanced learning approach. 

Using social media reminded me of Marshall McLuhan which is why I chose Chirp. Re-introducing the tribe could happen at infancy with connection beginning earlier than we imagined. Social media becomes our environment and we become extensions of its skin. Working us over, the tribe is restored with a world of,  "total involvement, in which everybody is profoundly involved with everybody else,"(Marshall McLuhan, 1967).

I also chose to create this ad because of my personal struggle with technology. I was amazed at the very beginning of the course to find my reliance on technology was a moment by moment, every day occurrence. This was a scary realization. This influenced my decision to choose an infant in the ad because from birth our reliance on technology is evident. I also chose an infant because of the struggle I have with over-connection.  While benefits are easy to see, I struggle with the real live connectivity that occurs with face-to-face relationship. I believe we are tipping the scale and will find that our only connection "from birth" is to technology rather than people. 

Finally, using a "need to nurture" approach with a baby grabs the attention of most. Babies in ads create pathos in a way that most individuals cannot. Using the baby to grab attention, the  phone in the hands of a baby stimulates awareness, the copy portrays the attitude of the ad/company and a call to action is made using a URL address. Because Chirp is a "new category" it introduces something new to the social media world. Association, bandwagon and humor are the persuasive approaches this ad takes to increase awareness, sales and involvement in Chirp.

Overall, the last few months have been more than awakening. I'm aware of dining rooms and microwaves and more involved with the technological decisions I'm making for my children. I go back to my Mantra often, " to use technology as a digital citizen, with balance, creativity, relevance and social responsibility." More importantly, I believe I'm educated in such a way that I can succeed as a Media Psychologist both personally and professionally. --Thank you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

724 E Media Psych/The Particulars of Media Persuasion

Deconstructing the message of political commercials has proven to be an interesting task this week.  During the recent presidential campaign an ad entitled “Sarah” captured my attention.  The timing, delivery and location of the commercial piqued my interest and for the purpose of this week’s assignment, warrant a closer look.

The source of the commercial is the Mitt Romney election committee. The message intends to educate and sway voters to vote for Romney. The commercial also solidifies loyal voters and their decision to vote for Romney. The intended audience of this commercial is Obama voters, women, on the fence voters and finally his own supporters. 

The text of the commercial is very clear:
  • ·      Soccer mom finds correct information regarding Mitt Romney
  • ·      Obama has been misquoting Romney
  • ·      Check the facts before you believe what you hear
  • ·      Romney supports abortion
  • ·      A woman used to believe in Obama
  • ·      Her family can’t afford another four years of Obama
  • ·      Obama created debt
  • ·      Romney is the clear choice

The subtexts include:
  • ·      I’m a regular mom just like you
  • ·      I have kids just like you
  • ·      I was thinking about voting for Romney until I heard his stance on abortion
  • ·      I searched online and found the true facts
  • ·      Romney believes in abortion just like Obama
  • ·      Who cares about abortion, let’s focus on debt
  • ·      I’ve suffered financially under Obama
  • ·      I used to believe in Obama
  • ·      I can’t afford Obama
  • ·      I like Romney

When this commercial begins, an immediate close up of a woman appears and then you’re invited into her home. The ad immediately feels warm and engaging. Voters are welcomed inside Sarah’s home, meet Sarah’s family and feel involved in the everyday life of Sarah.

This particular commercial uses persuasion in an unassuming way. While incorporating political rhetoric, it does so without being obvious.  Using the “plain folks” testimonial, Sarah projects an image of a regular person. She is relate-able to intelligent, everyday females and soccer moms alike. While projecting an authentic image, Sarah gives Mitt Romney authenticity with the everyday voter. The commercial also provides a simple solution for the consumer. Using rhetoric that breaks down political speak, Sarah explains that after researching the facts, she realized Romney isn’t against abortion.  Even though she voted for Obama in the last election she’s since changed her mind. While she is concerned about abortion, she is more concerned about the debt Obama has created. Her final statement appeals to a working class family who can’t afford four more years of Obama.

What I found most interesting is that Romney’s view on abortion was incorrectly communicated. Mitt Romney does not believe in abortion, however the commercial focused on the “exceptions” to his belief.  Next, when the discussion lead to the debt created by Obama, there were no facts presented. Instead, the commercial played on emotion while Sarah explained that she could no longer “afford” Obama.

The approach of the commercial was exactly what Romney needed to solidify his win during the first debate. Immediately, Romney became accessible to liberal voters.  Romney capitalized on voters, or more specifically women, who were on the fence. This ad made Romney appear liberal, while also playing the part of a conservative.

Overall, the message of the commercial was easy to see, but hard to turn off regardless of party affiliation. Its appeal was unassuming in such a way, that even the unbeliever was disarmed. 

724 E Media Psych/Overview of Media Literacy

Conducting a personal media bias inventory revealed the areas in which I exercise bias in everyday life.  Consuming media at a rapid rate provides a filter or lack there of, through which I collect information and apply it.  The results of the inventory impacted my understanding of media 2.0 as well as the persuasive nature of media as it influences generations to come.

I was surprised to find the media I consumed on a daily basis. More so, I was alarmed when I recorded the times at which I consumed specific media. We’ve all done it. The kids are taking a nap, no one is in the store, right before bed, or maybe it’s a quick moment before stepping out the door. Even worse, we’re double fisting technology with an iPad in one hand while sitting in front of the television. We plug in, tune in, sign on and engage. These are the moments I found media to be most dangerous after conducting the media bias inventory. I discovered that I consumed media without filter or care. More importantly, I developed opinions based on information received in short amount of time with a “barely there” attention span. “Some experts expressed concerns that trends are leading to a future in which most people become shallow consumers of information,” (Communications, 2012). This quote becomes alarming when “most people” is replaced by my name.

If the trend is continuing towards an unparalleled mass consumption of media technology, we must protect against the “shallow consumers of information.” Rob Williams of ACME believes that we must not only become “critical media consumers but powerful media producers,” (Williams, 2005).  Applying Michael Shermer’s Baloney Kit is first step, but it is only the beginning. As consumers of media, awareness and knowledge are merely the doors we should walk through. Once inside, we must accept the role of producers as Media 2.0 participants. “There is no better way to understand the persuasion of media than to reflectively create media,” (Ohler, 2010). Williams later explains that, “90 percent of our children’s media content is owned by one of six transnational corporations whose number one goal by law is to make money at the expense of all other social values in terms of their priorities,” (Williams, 2005). Taking this into consideration, educating youth not only as critical thinkers but producers of media becomes the key to media literacy.

Educators have the ability to create honest persuaders of media through the introduction of visual learning. Learning that applies creativity through multi-media develops a student’s ability to reason while consuming information. “Critical knowledge includes discussing the ways images have been used throughout history, awareness of intentionality, of how an image, object or event has been put together to offer a particular kind of experience or to set up a certain kind of spectator. This should be done in a creative and innovative way so imagination is interwoven through the idea of being ‘critical’ and reasoned responses are combined with affective and imaginative responses. The aim is to create students who have a sense of aesthetic openness, but are also critically aware of the capacity of images to manipulate,” (Bamford).

As we move forward in a technology driven society riddled with media bias, there have been positive movements forward. The more we educate ourselves with the media we digest; we become honest participators in a media 2.0 society. Understanding habits formed while consuming media plays an integral role in the development of individual media consumers. Perry Hewitt, chief digital officer at Harvard University, says this evolution is positive. “It seems easy to decry the attention span of the young and to mourn the attendant loss of long form content—who will watch Citizen Kane with rapt attention when your Android tells you Rosebud was a sled? On consideration, though, the Internet has brought forward not only education, but thinking. While we still want to cultivate in youth the intellectual rigor to solve problems both quantitatively and qualitatively, we have gotten them out of the business of memorizing facts and rules, and into the business of applying those facts and rules to complex problems. In particular, I have hope for improved collaboration from these new differently ‘wired’ brains, for these teens and young adults are learning in online environments where working together and developing team skills allows them to advance,” (Communications, 2012).

Bamford, D. A. The Visual LIteracy White Paper. Art and Design University of Technology Sydney, Interactive Media. Adobe Systems.
Communications, E. U. (2012). What Is The Likely Future of Generation AO in 2020. Retrieved from Imagining the Internet:
Ohler, J. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Williams, R. (2005, May). What is Media Literacy. (M. Johnson, Interviewer) See Thru TV.


724 E Media Psych/Evaluating Technology

Technology assessment is used to project the connections and disconnections made by and through each technology. While projecting the future impact of technology is not full proof, it does allow for an evaluation that might assist individuals consider the short-term and long-term effects of each technology. Using this assessment, we are able to determine the impact of a technology called Augmented Reality Thermal Camera.

Using the de-tech-tive process outlined in Digital Community Digital Citizen by Jason Ohler, three steps are suggested to develop a better understanding of technology and it’s impact personally, socially and environmentally. The three steps include; investigation, analyze and evaluate/recommend.

The first step involves investigation. This product has the physical characteristics of a small video camera and is used to determine whether a person emits body heat in a certain area of a store. Body heat triggers an augmented reality display based on the location of an individual. The camera enhances customer satisfaction while diminishing the role of the employee. This technology could likely replace statistics built using a purchasing system however; an augmented reality thermal camera could be replaced with hologram technology. Storeowners and consumers could each benefit from its use. Storeowners would be able to track real time purchasing statistics while consumers would receive assistance immediately and expertly. The technology creates a hands-on shopping experience with items geared towards individual consumers. Likewise, brick-and-mortar stores are able to compete with online stores in both speed and advertising. Through this technology, storeowners can track sales in the same way online stores can track clicks or page views. This technology impacts the future of localism within the community.

While the investigative process yielded positive answers, it’s important to think or debate critically when determining the future success of a technology. As mentioned above, there are several beneficial uses to an augmented reality thermal camera but what if the camera was not well received in stores. There are consumers that shop without wanting to be bothered. When entering a store, they want to remain somewhat anonymous and unaffected. The idea of “big brother” watching could be an automatic turn off for some consumers. There may be a more succinct way to capture this information. Could the thermal camera be replaced with GPS embedded in phones? Is GPS reliable and/or available throughout the store?

After looking through the data, I believe that this technology could benefit from conditional acceptance. The technology has the ability to go forward, but needs more development. The development should come from a collaboration of storeowners and AR developers. While thermal plays an integral role, more information could prove its use ineffective. Schematics may show another technology more useful to track brick-and-mortar sales while optimizing marketing or advertising. 

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.