The content of advertisements reveals a great deal about a society. They reflect the culture’s attitude towards race, gender, and class, in addition to how individuals are expected to behave in the society. Advertisements are out to sell, and the notion of being relevant to the lives of the audience is paramount in influencing consumers. For this reason, advertisements can so effectively expose characteristics of a civilization’s culture. However, advertisements rarely depict ordinary lives. Rather, they show idealized, embellished models of the attitudes, expectations, and behaviors of the various groups. Characters in advertisements are not everyday people, but rather symbols of how that race, class, or gender is expected to be. This causes an often invisible disconnect between real life and the lives of those depicted in ads. As a result, the idealistic stories told through advertisements end up crafting a society’s culture in addition to merely displaying its attributes. (more…)
User anonymity has long been one of the internet’s most underrated characteristics. Online, you can be whoever you want to be and act however you like, without being associated with your real world reputation. The internet’s gift of anonymity has played a crucial role in the development of the internet, easing people into the new medium by disconnecting it from their real lives. Online anonymity has been a player in some of the internet’s shining achievements, and some of its most heinous acts. But whether for good or evil, with the internet’s maturation online anonymity and privacy is definitely on the decline.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
Throughout the early 20th century, the United States’ employed a foreign policy of isolationism. It was believed that the United States could make it alone, leaving the rest of the world to make decisions regarding peace on their own. We didn’t need the rest of the world and they didn’t need us. This false idea of detachment fueled foreign policy decisions for decades, and almost kept us out of both World Wars. The United States’ non-interventionism was most visible when we created the League of Nations, an organization aiming to unite the world, but then failed to join it ourselves. Eventually it was realized that in the age of digital connectivity, global enterprise, and high-speed travel, it is absurd to believe a modern nation can remain detached from the world. Needless to say, the conflict in Iraq alone shows our foreign policy is anything but non-interventionist or isolationist today.
But the idea still lingers in our media.
On the night of Monday, November 8th, a flying object left a billowing smoke trail across the Californian sky. The news media that we are expected to trust for factual information, prematurely identified the object as a missile. They continued with that assumption in mind, eventually stating that the US government and the pentagon don’t know who launched the missile. People became anxious and the story took off. Even after the object was decided to be something other than a missile after all, they again emphasized that the government had no idea what the mystery object was. What we see here is a perfect example of entertainment taking presidence over news in our legacy news media. In this case, it was actually the blogs that broke the real story: the mystery missile the news media terrified us with, was merely a regular commercial plane.
Continue reading to find out how. (more…)
Let’s face it, no one clicks internet advertisements. Every now and then, while surfing a site I love, I’ll click a banner advertisement just to help out their advertising rates. But the sympathy click is the full extent of my interaction with web advertisements.
Yet, tons of websites earn a profit based solely on advertisements; the same ads that us web savvy folk avoid like the plague and fill us with frustration. You know, those awful web page ads that flash catchy headlines, use your IP to incorporate your location, perhaps even involve a little game element (shoot three ducks to win an iPad!). Or even just banner ads for mainstream products, services, and outlets like Best Buy, that may or may not obnoxiously expand to cover the entire web site you were surfing. How could those possibly be fiscally lucrative?