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Those who own the means of production, own and control meaning. These people are the high paid corporations that have vested interests in controlling the middle class. How we think, eat and feel have been instilled in us by constant bombardment by those who own the means of production.

In the case of the article on the New York Times, fast track to inequality, which can be found at this link We see that in this case, those who own the means of production are not influencing meaning but rather, the middle class income. It is argued that globalization and technology have not been the reason that the middle class has struggled over the years but, rather policy making decisions by the government since the 1970s that have easier taxes on the higher class. The United States used to tax the wealthy enormously. That trend has stopped ever since having the wealthy support certain campaigns became so fundamental to politics.

It’s interesting that those who are high up would blame technology for the hardship of the middle-class. I can understand their argument that it has made the world smaller which in turn has made it easier to find distributors from all over the world to buy from instead of just lets say the United States or Canada, if your business is located in North America. Technology is the one thing that the lower and middle class have going for them. They have a voice that can not be shut. Those who control the means of production can not control the production of meaning in the case of YouTube and Facebook, where instances of “Charlie bit my Finger” has become a household saying.

Technology is the middle classes best friend and corporate America’s worst enemy. Controlling the middle class as they have done for the past 40 years will no longer be that easy. Policy makers may have to think twice about making taxes heavy on the middle class due to the fact that for once, they are almost accumulating as much power as those with the meaning of production.


Convenience of New Media

Today I have downloaded the WordPress application to my iPhone to illustrate how convienant new media has made our lives. It has come to the point where new media isn’t even necessarily making our daily functions easier but rather our hobbies. Blogging isn’t a necessity but rather a hobby to most and now it can be done anywhere from your iPhone. It’s unfounded Convenience.

What’s next it terms of Convenience? Ordering groceries online? I don’t think that is necessarily realistic , it doesn’t make much financial sense for the grocery store. You see where I am going, new media has made all of our lives easier and now it is attempting to make our hobbies and entertainment easier to access. Look at live streaming in YouTube, which my documentary addresses, it is gonna make watching our favorite shows easier and convienant  for everyone who doesn’t have access to a television at the time the show is playing.

There’s a lot of money in store for whoever can figure out : what’s next?

Illusion of Privacy

A very interesting article about how we perceive privacy on the internet when really it’s far from that. Looking at it from a psychological point of view, it is very interesting to see how people change when they act on the internet. They use the computer screen as a buffer zone from the actual confrontation. This is why cyberbullying has escalated. The bullies feel that there is no one watching what they say to someone as well as they have the computer screen as a buffer zone from the person. The lack of non-verbal communication which can be argued as the most important part of communication is also absent, meaning that even normal conversations could escalate if someone’s tone is misinterpreted.

Everything is recorded in cyberspace and the issue of privacy is one that is ignored in terms of online. Look at Facebook, everyone should delete their Facebook account right now. Even if we did, they would still have the pics and wall posts but, it would prevent us from giving more personal information. Facebook is the most un-private organization online yet, half a billion people participate (me being one). Facebook having this many people illustrates the problem that we as a society, think that the online world is safe and private when it is not. We are monitored, tracked and put into systems to figure out how to get us, the consumer, to purchase goods. The online world is a marketers dream that we keep feeding.

According to the Globe and Mail, a local City of Ottawa newspaper, 10% of teens today spend 7 hours in front of the television or computer daily. “That’s almost a third of the day.” Shocking, is the first word that comes to mind, but then I thought to myself: well I am 19, how many hours do I spend in front of the television or computer. If I include how much time I spend on my laptop due to school or other activities, I am at about 5-7 , sometimes even 8 hours a day. initially, I was shocked at myself but, I rationalized this behaviour with the fact that it is for school.

It begs the question though: Is my “sedentary behaviour”, activities that do not increase energy expenditure higher than resting levels, cause me or others health issues? I don’t have the answer to that. I can’t for sure say that I am not obese though, weighing in at 146 lbs and 6″2.

After the initial health shock, I started to think about my documentary, which can be found on the documentary page of this blog. I began to think about how we went into detail about YouTube wanting to live stream programs. Of course as we learned in the documentary, every person is a different case, it still makes me wonder if YouTube is going to increase this percentage of teens spending 7 or more hours in front of the television or computer. Having live streamed programs so easily available, most can access YouTube from their phone, may entice even more teens to spend time online.

Notice I have been saying “may” due to the fact that when we interviewed some random University of Ottawa students and asked them if they would be on YouTube more if online streaming was available, we found that the results were inclusive. There wasn’t much theme to the answers and many “himmed and ha’d” about it placing conditions on them watching live streaming. Only time will tell and it will be interesting to keep this stat in mind when live streaming does start to take force to see the implications it has on our society.

Remember we are entering into a potential financial crisis all over Canada, where we see the baby boomers retiring and strains on our health care is increasing. Taxes will most likely increase for my generation in order to support the generation of baby boomers which will need health care. How does this relate? Well if more teens are spending more time in front of the television or computer and becoming unhealthy in the process then this will apply more of a strain on the health care system then it can handle. Therefore increased taxes which will result in less spending, which leads to businesses going bankrupt and there you have it folks, an economic collapse!

Could live streaming on YouTube be assisting an economic collapse in Canada? possibly…

I find it really interesting listening to the perspective of Dr. Strangelove, that is, the market value system compels consumer’s to act.  Being a Business student as well as a Communication student gives me an opportunity to see both perspectives of this argument. I can assure you that when looking at consumerism from a marketing perspective, there is a value system that is taken into account. We see marketers segment the market and put individuals into certain classifications and categories.

So whats with the conservative saying: “The more we participate in branded consuming, the more that corporations must listen to us and the more power the consumer has”? I don’t understand how padding a corporations bottom line will incline them to listen to the consumer? I understand the emphasis today is on long-term consumers but, I still stand by that boycotting a company works way better than buying their product so they will listen to you. Market shares are so small these days for most companies, therefore many companies will feel the impact of being boycotted. We have already seen that companies with big financial bottom lines and huge participation from consumer’s in branded consuming do not listen to their consumers’. These businesses will still participate in unethical business’ practices even with the support of millions of consumers.

This video was made on June 11th of 2006, which is three and a half years ago. Looking into the future which back then would have been today, do we see anything that’s all to surprising? Sure no one particular pizza shop has said those things to you when ordering your pizza , but, when you a buy a new hoodie from “BillaBong” and they ask you what your address or postal code is, what do you think it’s for? Not only do corporations have the resources to figure out information about us, but New Media has encouraged a free-flowing “river” of information.

Media’s such as Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube , have created a culture where everyone needs to know when you date, do well and poop. Everyone is on a “need to know” basis. Corporations use this to their advantage to collect information about “Market segments”. In the video we saw, it was clear that the pizza shop knew everything about that individual, such is not the case today. Marketers today can tell you that information about clusters or Market Segments, which is essentially, a group of people who respond similarly to a product.

Marketers know their average wage, debit, family size, favourite activities, leisure time, vacation spots and health issues. They know this information about that cluster, but they don’t know exactly how much debit and leisure time John Smith has , who happens to be a part of that cluster. Why? There is no need to take it to the individual level, it’s time-consuming and costly. Quite frankly, in business today, there is a need for knowledge and not information. Taking it to the individual level would create more information and approximately the same knowledge.

New Media is a marketers dream and worst nightmare. It can be hard to advertise on (YouTube) but, you have consumers giving you information that was so costly to acquire in the past on Facebook.

College List Gone Viral

We are moving from a Victorian type of society that placed a major emphasis on the privacy of diaries and affairs to the YouTube / New media society that places an importance on publicity. “We loved to be watched” , I would extend this to “We loved to be watched and talked about”. We constantly see people jockying for media time or simply YouTube viewer hits. We are recorded and uploaded in the “system” with every transaction or act that is taped. We have a digital footprint all over the internet and things we would not necessarily know about are being uploaded. Take this college girl’s sexual experience list.

A graduate student from Duke uploaded a list of performances by several partners she had been with. This list included details in regards to what made the performance memorable or forgettable.  This is important due to the fact that the digital world we live in has created the ability for something that would have been done on a “girls night in” and laughed about but forgotten later is now permenately placed on the internet. Whether this girl or these guys like it or not, their digital fingerprint is now this. This information will never be forgotten by the vast database which is the internet.

You have to wonder with the effort that was put into this list whether the duke student wanted it to become viral. Which has to make you wonder about the “We like to be watched / talked about” attitude that we as a society are developing. Have we progressed or regressed? Was privacy that was such a fundamental value of Victorian society such a bad thing? Has the publicity approach improved society? For this student and her subject, it hasn’t.

From my readings I have discovered that You Tube is all about authenticity. It’s about being real and who you are in front of the camera so that everyone can experience something different from what they get in front of the television. Unlike television though it has no censor. Siblings posting videos humiliating other siblings, “I hate my parents videos” are all up on You Tube. Those people who are being humiliated or mad to look bad will have be able to recover from that perception. There is no delete button on the internet. Where does that leave us?

I feel as the generations progress into the workforce , particular Generation X and the tweens, this behaviour will be more normalized. For now though it damages perception. Why? because it’s authentic, its un scripted, (mostly), real peaks into someones life whether they like it or not. The public eye now sits on your front lawn and watches you through your curtains. Kinda freaky?

 On a side note I have always wanted to delete my Facebook account for that reason but, the girlfriend wants you to put up pictures of you and her and tag yourself in them so I never have. Here I am though, giving more authentic personal data to the seeing eye on my front yard through a different medium, Facebook. It’s all dangerous , it’s all authentic and it’s all remembered, that’s what scares me.

I was reading in my Marketing textbook and I came across online surveys in the Market research section of the textbook. I was reading through the chapter and to my surprise learned that Online surveys are becoming increasingly popular with marketers for various reasons:

1. They cost less to run approximately $10 per survey. On average they save about $20 per survey as mail and telephone surveys cost in the $30 per survey range.

2. There is greater participation in online surveys as opposed to mail and or telephone surveys.

3. People are less likely to lie on them since there is a greater sense of Anonymity.

I can understand the logic of #1 and #2 but, #3 is what really gets me. How can people feel a greater sense of anonymity if the survey is online. If anything there is less anonymity when filling a survey out online. I understand that you feel less judged since there isn’t another person on the side but, all this information is permenately stored. Do not think that companies can not figure out who you are, what you do and where you live after you fill out a survey. All they need is the I.P address of your computer. The scary part is this information is never forgotten and so cheap to store.

In my opinion there is no type of survey that can give any consumer a sense of anonymity but, for people to think that online surveys provide that is naive. But then again most of us are naive , thinking that we are not brainwashed by the corporate world’s marketing campaigns.