Archive | December 2006

Conversations from a Breakup

Girl: You’re a really sweet guy with a lot going for you and everything.

Guy: . . .

Girl: Anyways, I hope we can still be friends because you’ll always have a special place in my heart.

Guy: You broke my heart, fine, but you ain’t taking my balls.

The Datasphere

I was at the bookstore, thumbing through books I can’t afford and got the chance to read a chapter of Media Virus by Douglas Rushkoff before my ass couldn’t handle the chair anymore. In that chapter he was talking about the ‘datasphere’ which is everything in the world of media and all the channels. He (and Noam Chomsky, I got to read a chapter of his stuff too) talked about how the roots of PR came from the government president Woodrow Wilson used it to influence public opinion about military action. There were a lot of other interesting details as well, but regarding Rushkoff’s ‘datasphere’, in the past it was completely controlled by the tradtional institutions of power. However, as we have all experienced, web 2.0 has allowed  everyone to control and exert influence in the ‘datasphere’ and that challenges the influence and power that government and big business once had.

Ironically, the ‘datasphere’ works kind of like a business in it of itself if you think about Turner Broadcasting and Clear Channel and the such. While college radio, independent press and public access TV brought some sort of democracy (another debatable concept has I’ve recently learned) to the ‘datasphere’. However, the internet’s low cost of entry seems to have changed everything.

Just recently, BusinessWeek published an article about how a viral campaign for the PSP backfired. Sony hired a PR company to create a blog to spread buzz, but people found out that it was fake (because it was so poorly written) after checking out who registered the blog. This incident not only shows the dynamics of Rushkoff’s ‘datasphere’, but it also hints at the possibility that this might be the place for the next great power struggle.

These fake blogs and viral campaigns are just ways to hijack the most trusted media channel (word of mouth) and the most trusted media source (everyday people). In addition to the current battle over net neutrality, I believe we are starting to see nervousness in these institutions of power as they try to imitate and limit the influence that everyday people are beginning to wield.

Branding 2.0

Kevin Rothermel had a post about his horrible experience with Delta airlines that talked about how no matter how much advertising they do, it will never make the experience better. I know someone left a comment about how they’re going to turn it around. It’ll be interesting to see what happens becuase I tend to think that unless they work for Delta in the operations department, I don’t know how it’s going to work.

But it’s a common thing where a company’s messaging doesn’t fulfill the promise they make because their core competencies just can’t do it. However, I was thinking about the Web 2.0 thing and realized that companies of the future may not have this problem because of the way they and the entire industry is structured.

The idea is that the companies (websites and web apps) they are creating are dynamic – it can be changed or manipulated fairly quickly by the company or the user, which ensures that the core competencies are up to par.

But also, this makes the consumer an active part of the brand and company because they have control (though limited) over the core competency through open source or API features. Theoretically, this will allow each user to have a different brand experience without the company making any additional investments. This gives the brand sustainable qualities because it allows the consumer to drive it towards the next stage, ensuring its relevance for a long time.

Culture Vultures

After hearing about this book, this one and this one, I feel like there is a gold rush mentality among Asian Americans to mine what they can from their culture and heritage for commercial exploitation.

As in all cases, there is a pull effect for this type of stuff, so I’m not sure who to blame for this. Whichever one it is, I used to be really pissed off about this stuff. But recently I’ve become bloodthirsty for a piece of this action.

At this rate, there’s not going to be anything left. And like a desparate scavenger who doesn’t want to go hungry, I want to make sure I get mine before it’s all gone. 

Definitions

A while ago, one of my group meetings broke out into a spontaneous discussion about race and racism. Somewhere toward the end, I said something to the effect of discussing this stuff is pointless and will go nowhere because we are not discussing the issue against the same definition. After reading the follow up to Vickie Chang’s article in the OC Weekly, I’m beginning to see why.

Everyone experiences race and racism in a different context which is inspired by their social class, education, where they grew up, etc.  Contrary to what I believed in before, I now think each of our experiences with race and racism is valid- whether it runs from the tacky diversity poster inspired ideology to dogma from the Nation of Islam. How can you argue with what you expreience and see in front of you everyday? If that’s how you feel, then that’s how you feel.

However, the interesting thing is when these difference match up in those discussions. It seems like we are very insecure about giving up on our experience or interpretation of race and racism to considre another one. These things are so personal, it makes sense that people would act this way. So, what happens in these discussions is we spend all our time trying to convince each other to believe in our respective realities. That’s not productive. So to become more productive, like minded people get together to push the issue amongst themselves. But that’s not productive either because they’re pushing an issue that affects everyone with having everyone there for input.

Holidays

I was rummaging through some old school stuff and I found a paper where I mentioned that the “commodification” of culture leads to the loss of its symbolic value. It’s a fairly generic thing to argue for, but it makes me wonder about Christmas and if it has just become a secular holiday and what the implications are.

Does this dilute the holiday for Christians who are celebrating the birthday of Jesus? Or does it empower them through the fact that everyone is unknowingly celebrating it?

Actually, do holidays in general mean anything anymore? Maybe I’m cynical, but the only reason why I get excited over holidays is because I get the day off. Also, it seems like holidays in general have become reasons to go shopping as well- with all the sales that go on. Hm…back to “commodification” again huh?

A Moment of Clarity

I’m stealing a moment from homework. I found this on xkcd.

My last class is on Wednesday. I can’t wait for break, I’ll finally have time to think about stuff.