Remembering September 11th

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On the eve of this September 11th, I can’t help but pause and reflect on the day that changed the course of American history (therein changing world history). I remember many of the details, most with strong emotion attached to them – calling my husband to make sure he was all right, waking my brother to watch the news with me, gathering with my friends and colleagues to continue to collect any and all information we could. There was a near-palpable collective confusion, fear, anger and sadness that pervaded my personal environment, as well as throughout the nation. There are some memories from that day that are crystalline in their clarity. This memory acuity is known as a flashbulb memory – a memory created from intense emotional arousal at the moment of a significant and, often times, traumatic event. Do you have a flashbulb memory of that day? If so, you’re not alone. Continue reading

McLuhan and the Notion of Retribalization

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Recently I was introduced to the first season of the A&E television show, Longmire, which is currently streaming on Netflix. I have only had the privilege of watching several episodes (I’m afraid my schedule just doesn’t allow for regular television viewing) and what I’ve seen so far is quite compelling. Alas- although the show is excellent, I’m not writing today to provide a program review but rather to revisit a segment I wrote and presented at the Western States Humanities Conference last year.

One of the more notable elements of the show is the immersive depiction of modern American Indians (the show is specific to the Cheyenne). This leads me to consider media’s influence portraying marginalized, indigenous communities. Interestingly, Marshall McLuhan, the visionary educator of communications, media, technology and humanity provided a powerful framework in which to analyze media. He wrote on media’s influence in constructing a “global village” and of the powerful process of “retribalization.” This post briefly defines McLuhan’s retribalization, while posing additional questions of the concept’s application. Continue reading

McLuhan and the Global Membrane of Communication

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“We remake the world through our technologies, and these in turn remake and extend us, in ever spiraling lattices of complexity. McLuhan uncannily foresaw the future, where electronic technology would shape and expand cultures and societies into a global membrane of communications.” – B.W. Powe, York University

 

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Media Psychology: What IS engagement?

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Media Psychology: What is engagement?What is engagement? Despite the fact that I work with clients everyday to track ENGAGEMENT metrics, I haven’t taken the time to reflect on a working definition. There appears to be two distinct camps approaching this question; 1) psychologists and 2) marketing professionals and academics. As a disclaimer, I have worked for almost a decade as a digital marketing strategist and therefore the latter approach to defining engagement is more familiar to me.

These dual approaches are outlined by Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G. in their work entitled ‘The Concept of Engagement’. Psychologists have defined engagement as a ‘sort of ongoing emotional, cognitive and behavioral activation state in individuals’, whereas advertising professionals ‘see it as the turning on of a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context’ (Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G., 2010, p. 4). Their work goes further to uncover contradictory definitions for the term ‘engagement’ and confusion around its actual meaning (Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G., 2010). Continue reading

Does Facebook Make You Feel Like a Guinea Pig?

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Guest post by Liza Persson.

Recently Facebook conducted an experimental study exploring online “emotional contagion”; the emotional bias or “tone” (negative or positive) of the content of what people see online and whether it affects the emotional “tone” of content they create online afterwards. Emotional bias or tone of content was inferred using an algorithm developed for this purpose, which in itself is a good tool for analyzing content (Kramer, Guillory, & Hancock, 2014).

What Facebook was doing was not psychology or science in any other area though. Facebook violated procedures and principles in regard to conducting research scientifically. It didn’t live up to the ethical safeguards of protecting those participating in the study, although it did get consent via its terms and services policy which is probably sufficient enough to protect itself in the case of lawsuits (American Psychological Association, 2010). The goal of raising ad revenue is not the rationale for scientific research; serving the good of humanity is (Riley, 2014; Nisen, 2014).
Continue reading

Personalized Pricing Brought to You by the Internet and now Facebook!

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Discrimination deemed legal, product pricing based on data collected about an individual is slowly coming to the public’s attention, although the practice came into being long before the Internet did. It appears that corporations are regularly using what they know about their customers – their income and personal purchasing habits – to make adjustments to the price points for items that appear on computer screens (Fertik, 2013; Shpanya, 2013; Valentino-DeVries, Singer-Vine, & Soltani, 2012). In effect, what you are charged for an item may not be what your friend sitting next to you is being asked to pay while shopping at the same online store for the same product. According to an unidentified programmer most of these alterations are based on your location, browsing history and your preferred operating system (Shpanya, 2013). Computer cookies pick up this information and transmit them to the store fronts (Potter, 2013). So what’s new? Do you use Facebook? If so, your preferences are about to be sold globally to enhance your mobile advertising experience using the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) (Beer, 2014).
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Beyond Advertisement: RePinning for Safety

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As the newest team member that contributes to this blog, I join with a slightly different background. Before working with media psychology, specifically, I worked with crime victims. Needless to say, headlines like this one -

“Police reunite stolen items with owners using Pinterest”

- definitely catch my eye. The advent of law enforcement using social networking sites as an extension of enforcement efforts is not necessarily new. The emergence of Pinterest as a key player in that paradigm, however, is fascinating, to be sure.

Continue reading

Psychology and Advertising

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“Psychology has been at the heart of advertising since its invention, although, academically, advertising and psychology have long since gone their separate ways. For advertisers, the ability to manipulate consumer impressions and decision making has been the key to success. If product sales increase following a carefully orchestrated campaign, the persuasive tactics have evidently worked, although as with any natural experiment it is hard to establish cause and effect due to the lack of control over confounding variables” (Giles, p. 106).

 References

Giles, D., 2003. Media Psychology. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Media Psychology and Transmedia Storytelling Case Study: The Power Inside

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‘The Power Inside’ is the third social film in a series created by Pereria & O’Dell for Toshiba and Intel. The series, which launched in 2011 with the film ‘Inside’, has been proclaimed as ‘groundbreaking’ by Fast Company and won multiple awards.

This third installment launched August 15, 2013 with a six episode web series featuring a strong ensemble cast including Harvey Keitel. The campaign was aimed at tech-savvy MillenTrnials and was hoping to promote Toshiba laptops that housed the Intel Core 15 Processor. Campaign assets included six ten minute webisodes featured on a sleek website, an active Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel.
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